HOUSTON (April 14) — Troy Coughlin Jr. raced his JEGS.com McPhillips Racing Top Alcohol Dragster to a runner-up finish Sunday at the 32nd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil.
Racing in just his second year in the class, Coughlin beat Rob McKinley, Steve Collier and Shane Conway before getting edged by current national points leader Megan Meyer in a thrilling side-by-side finale.
"We've had a very successful weekend," Coughlin said. "We needed a tick more to beat Megan but just getting a chance to race them in the final round of an NHRA national event is an honor. It's such a thrill to be up there with the race title on the line. The stands are full and you know all eyes are on you. That was a big race and my hats off to Megan and her team for getting the win.
"That's a top-notch group that makes a lot of runs. They earn everything they get and you better be perfect to even have a chance."
Coughlin certainly gave it a go against Meyer, posting his best reaction time of race day, a stout .050-second launch, but his 5.266 at 275.90 mph wasn't quick enough to hold off Meyer, who caught and passed Coughlin to win with a 5.231 at 279.15 mph.
"The exciting part of the weekend is that we made it down the track all seven runs," Coughlin said. "It's impressive because we are down one guy and as much as the weather jumped around, anything could have happened. I'm just so proud of the team for the work they put in all weekend, and that was especially the case today working under some pretty tight turnaround times."
Eliminations started with Coughlin beating Rob McKinley with a 5.285 at 275.67 mph to McKinney's6.070 at 181.25 mph. Coughlin then got a free pass when quarterfinal opponent Steve Collier didn't show up and made the most of it, improving to a 5.236 at 274.05 mph.
Local Shane Conway was next but once again Coughlin's steady hot rod was the superior car, posting a 5.260 at 277.26 to Conway's overcooked 15.187 at 64.71 mph.
"I love this team and the passion they have for winning," Coughlin said. "With the data gained here during seven great runs, I'm already very excited about our next race two weeks from now over in Charlotte. I'm 100% confident we'll pick up right where we left off here.
"Big thanks to the 400-plus associates at JEGS, my dad and uncles, plus Steve Bryson and everyone at Global Electronic Technology."