CHICAGO (July 26) — Taking two months off right after your best finish of the NMCA Pro Edelbrock season isn’t exactly what drag racer Troy Coughlin had in mind, but now the wait is over the former Pro Stock superstar is glad he had some time away.

After earning a runner-up finish at his home track in Columbus, Ohio, Coughlin and the rest of his Denso Spark Plugs Pro Street brethren return to action this weekend for the Motive Gear NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing I presented by Nitto Tire at Route 66 Raceway in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Ill. It’s the fourth of seven races on the NMCA tour, marking the official halfway point of the season.

“I wanted to race the next weekend,” Coughlin said. “But the time off was actually a blessing. We were able to send our motors back to Sonny Leonard’s shop in Virginia and he found a bunch of horsepower. At the same time, I’ve lost 12 pounds so our entire package has improved. That has us excited for this weekend.”

Coughlin enters this race third in the standings with 1,070 points after picking up 525 points in Columbus in his JEG’s Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier. Co-leaders Vinny Budano and Randall Haynes each have 1,320 points, meaning they are well within range should Coughlin have another big weekend.

“I believe we have a great shot at winning this race,” Coughlin said. “I’m sure all the big hitters from the Midwest will be coming out of the woodwork to run. I would imagine we’ll have the highest car count of the season. But I like our chances just the same.

“This event will feature two sanctions, the NMCA and the NMRA, which is all Fords, so it’ll be interesting to watch how they do things. Jack Roush is the Master of Ceremonies and his son will be racing. There’s definitely going to be some bragging rights on the line, plus the winner of our class will take on the winner of the NMRA Pro Street class Sunday night in a Shootout. It’s serious stuff.”

Although Coughlin hasn’t been in a racecar since June 4, he insists his years of experience in a multitude of racecars will help calm his nerves.

“You’re always pumping before that first qualifying session,” Coughlin said. “Then your instincts kind of take over and you just have fun after that. This whole season has been about having fun for me and I don’t expect that to change this weekend. Of course, it’s always more fun when you’re winning.”

Action begins Friday with the opening round of qualifying.

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