MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 18) — For nearly three decades, drag racer Troy Coughlin has chased his dream of winning a national title. Sunday at Memphis Motorsports Park, the 45-year-old Coughlin finally realized his goal, taking the top division in the National Muscle Car Association by racing his JEGS.com Pontiac GXP Pro Street machine to the semifinal round of the season-ending Nitto Tire World Finals.
“Now I know what it feels like,” said Coughlin, one of four brothers who own and operate JEGS Mail Order in Delaware, Ohio. “I’ve celebrated all of my brothers championships over the years and enjoyed them all immensely, but I always wanted to get one for myself. Now I know the feeling, just like my brothers, just like John Force and Tony Schumacher and all the others who have been lucky enough to win it all. It’s pretty special.”
Earlier victories in Chicago and Charlotte, a national record of 6.279 seconds, and steady outings at all the other events left Coughlin needing only to show up and qualify for this weekend’s race to secure the title in the Scorpion Performance Pro Street class.
Leaving nothing to chance, he powered through to the semifinals and even reset both ends of the national record with a quarterfinal run of 6.277 at 225.08 mph to finish the year in grand style.
“I owe so much to my crew guys — Clint Allerton, Brian Metzenheim, and Mike Rees,” Coughlin said. “I’m so proud of them and for them. They’ve worked so hard for a long time to reach this goal. I could see on their faces this weekend how important it was to them. They were all business until we clinched the title, and then they stayed on it until the end, just to make sure we got it done. They are the best.
“Having my wife Julie and my girls, Meghan, Paige, and Kelly Jo with us was pretty special. They’ve been there for me from the start and it’s great to see how excited they are now. My son Troy Jr. would have been here too but he was racing with his Uncle Mike in Georgia. We’ve talked on the phone a bunch and I know he’s excited.
“I can’t wait to get home and have a big party. I know everyone at JEGS Mail Order will be pumped up. Their support has meant a lot. This championship is for all of them as much as anyone else.”
Coughlin already has pledged to come back and defend his title on the Edelbrock NMCA series in 2010.