CHICAGO — Riding the wave of two giant holeshot wins during the Motive Gear NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing I, Troy Coughlin has moved into second place in the Denso Spark Plugs Pro Street championship standings.

Racing under extremely hot and humid conditions at Chicago’s renowned Route 66 Raceway, Coughlin’s extra-sharp reaction times translated to two big eliminations round victories, which ultimately lifted him from third to second place in the world rankings.

After dispatching Steve Miller Saturday with a .06-second reaction time advantage to win with a 6.67 at 210 mph to Miller’s 6.65 at 210 mph, Coughlin returned to the strip Sunday and quickly trailered reigning IHRA Pro Stock champion Steve Spiess with a gargantuan .018- to .190-second headstart at the Christmas Tree. The early leave allowed Coughlin’s JEG’s Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier to win with air-to-spare, covering the quarter-mile with a 6.74 at 209.10 mph to Spiess’ late-charging 6.62 at 215.80 mph.

“He was favored big-time because he’d certainly out-performed us E.T.-wise and he had lane choice under probably the worst racing conditions we’ve seen this year,” Coughlin said. “I knew I needed to cut a great light and drive perfectly down the track to have a chance.

“I left strong and didn’t see or hear him all the way down the track so I figured he’d broken or something. Then right at the finish line he went zinging past me. I realized later he had a bad light and was tracking me down.”

In the semifinals, Coughlin waited out a cooling rain delay to face eventual race winner Brian Robbins. One of Coughlin’s good friends on the tour, Robbins had been running in the 6.6- to 6.7-second range all weekend, but under the cooler temperatures he posted a stunning 6.62 to retire Coughlin.

“I left on him by six-hundredths of a second but by the time I shifted into second gear he was past me,” Coughlin said. “Before long I realized I had no chance and just lifted. When I guy runs a lap like that, you just shake his hand and tell him, ‘good job,’ so that’s exactly what I did. Brian is good people and I was happy to see him win.”

The good news for Coughlin is that points leader Vinny Budano also bowed out in the semis, so Coughlin kept pace with the leader with three events left in the seven-race series. Former No. 2 points earner Randall Haynes lost in Round 1, which allowed Coughlin to get past him for the second-place ranking.

“We have a good, consistent racecar and my driving has been very solid, so I’m happy all the way around,” Coughlin said. “The crew should be commended for all their hard work, especially as hot as it was in Chicago. We’re excited about the next race in Maple Grove. Hopefully we can continue our climb in the points.”

Up next for Coughlin is the fifth annual ROSS Pistons NMCA Hot Rod & Muscle Car Nationals, which run from August 25-27 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.


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