CONCORD, N.C. (May 11) — This weekend’s trip to Bruton Smith’s beautiful zMax Dragway for the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals has Team JEGS racers Troy Coughlin Jr. and his sister Paige excited for a number of reasons, not the least of which is another chance to hoist a coveted Wally trophy.
Sophomore Pro Stock driver Troy Jr. gained a lot of experience in his first-ever four-wide race a month ago in Las Vegas, so he’s feeling a little more confidence in the format as he heads to “the Bellagio of Drag Strips” with his powerful JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro.
“Drag racing four-wide is something different but I really enjoy the format,” Troy Jr. said. “It adds a lot to the competition. You have to really concentrate on what you’re doing during the staging process in relation to the other three cars. In the end you’re still trying to get all you can out of your own car, so you can’t get too distracted by what the other drivers are doing either.
“Charlotte is a fun town with a lot of really great motorsports fans. Plus, JEGS has a lot of loyal customers from that area so we really want to show what we’re capable of this weekend.”
Troy Jr. started the year with a strong runner-up finish in Florida but has since suffered two early exits in both Las Vegas and Atlanta. That’s something he’s eager to put behind him as the fourth race of the season roars to life in the Queen City.
“When you have a race where things didn’t go as planned, you just have to start over, get back in the car and do what you do,” Troy Jr. said. “It’s about living in the moment, taking it as it comes, and executing your job one lap at a time. I can’t advance forward if I’m thinking about the past. If you think about the past you’ll end up repeating it because your mind always goes to whatever you’re focused on.
“It’s all part of my growth as a driver. Pro Stock cars are very challenging to drive. It’s not easy, but it’s so much fun when you get it all right, like we did for the most part in Gainesville. I know with the caliber of Elite Motorsports behind me, I’ve always got a great chance to win.”
When not piloting his Pro Stocker, Troy Jr. will be looking out for his kid sister Paige, who will be piloting her very own JEGS.com dragster in Super Comp.
“Super Comp is a very strategic and competitive class where you’re running a lot of tough racers,” Troy Jr. said. “It gives me a lot of energy to see her enthusiasm and drive to become better every time out. This will also be the first time this year to race together so I’m excited. I tend to have the most fun when there’s family around.”
Having just finished another semester at Miami University of Ohio, Paige is equally happy to be back at the racetrack. While this will be her first NHRA-sanctioned event of the season, she’s already made some warm-up laps at a local event in Ohio.
“I’m definitely ready to get back in the seat,” Paige said. “We recently entered an event at Kilkare Raceway and the car was fantastic. My crew chief Justin Beaver did a great job tuning the car at Kilkare and I know we are both ready to get back to the quarter-mile this weekend.
“I’m really excited to be back at zMax Dragway. I have a lot of great memories here from watching my dad run his Pro Mod car to competing in my first-ever NHRA national event. I’m also very excited to watch my brother run Pro Stock. Cheering on my brother is a blast and racing together at NHRA events makes them even more special.
“It will also be great to see everyone at Elite Motorsports. They are a great group of people that share our family’s passion for the sport.”