VALDOSTA, Ga. (March 11) – Heading into last weekend’s Southeast Division NHRA Lucas Oil Series event at South Georgia Motorsports Park, Troy Coughlin Jr. made it known that his goal was to score as many round wins as possible as he began title chases in Super Comp and Super Gas.
Coughlin did just that with a very respectable semifinal finish in the Super Gas class and another a semifinal result in his Super Comp dragster in Friday’s Ultimate Sportsman Shootout race.
"We made a little cash and had a lot of fun," Coughlin said. "I made more than 20 runs total and we learned a lot, too. I had a lot of good help from [crew members] Rick Rossiter and Jay Schroeder and we used a lot of the data provided by uncle Jeg [Coughlin, five-time NHRA champion]. It was a total team effort."
Facing eventual event winner John Taylor in Sunday’s Super Gas semifinals, Coughlin put together a very solid effort with a competitive .014-second reaction time and a 9.914-second pass on the 9.90 index but it wasn’t enough as Taylor beat Coughlin’s JEGS.com Corvette roadster across the finish line with a nearly-perfect run that included a .004-reaction and a 9.903 elapsed time.
"It was a good race," Coughlin said. "I should have made some adjustments and I might have been able to give him a better race."
Earlier in the event, Coughlin faced a similar situation as he faced off with Mark Miles with four cars remaining in the Ultimate Sportsman Shootout. Coughlin had a .009-second reaction time and just missed the index with an 8.899-second run. Miles was almost perfect with a .000 reaction time and an 8.908.
"There wasn’t much I could do; I just happened to lose a couple of close races," Coughlin said. "That’s the nature of Super Comp and Super Gas; a couple thousandths here or there could turn a loss into a win. You just have to stick with your game plan and I think we did that. I’m still getting used to driving two cars and I felt very comfortable in both of them."
Coughlin will return to his day job at JEGS Mail Order in Delaware, Ohio, this week but will head South again on Wednesday night for this weekend’s 44th annual Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals. Coughlin will once again be racing in Super Comp and Super Gas and he will be joined by his father, Troy Sr., in the Pro Mod class and uncle Jeg in Pro Stock.
"I’m excited," Coughlin said. "The Gatornationals is one of the biggest races of the year and it’s one that everyone wants to win. It makes it even better to have my dad and uncle there. We tested last week and I made a lot of runs and I got a lot of runs in at the South Georgia race so I think we’re ready to go. I can’t wait to get back to Gainesville Raceway."