GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 11) – Chevrolet driver Troy Coughlin found out Saturday night exactly how recalcitrant a NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by ProCare Rx vehicle can be.

After two solid qualifying passes – his first with new tuner Steve Petty – that earned him the No. 6 position in the elimination field, Coughlin had to abort a run in Q3 when the front end of his turbocharged ’68 Camaro came off the asphalt. Then, in the first round of eliminations, Coughlin’s car shot right off the start line, and Coughlin had to reel it in.

Meanwhile, Raymond Commisso made it down the track to knock Coughlin out of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.

“It stinks that it went the way it did, but that’s racing,” Coughlin said. “It’s got potential. We’re a young team with Steve (Petty) and the guys. It’s only going to bet better and faster for us.”

In qualifying, Coughlin immediately went to the top half of the Pro Mod field with a pass of 5.986 seconds. In Q2, he stepped it up to No. 4 with a run of 5.946 seconds at 256.26 mph.

But then things went up. Yes, up. Around the 330-foot mark in Q3, Coughlin’s front end lifted high off the track.

“It took off, and it was spinning the tires a little bit, like it always does,” Coughlin said. “When it’s spinning the tires, the car’s not traveling the speeds that it normally would if it was hooking up. When it finally did hook up, it hiked the front end up.

“I pedaled it once, got off and got back on it real quick, thinking it would calm down and keep going. It didn’t calm down, and it kept going up. Thank God it hit both wheelie bars and squared it back up as I was getting out of it. Otherwise, it would’ve been a mess.”

Coughlin decided not to be a hero, lifting off the throttle and settling the car back on the ground.

“I don’t want to mess these things up,” Coughlin said. “There’s too much work in it.”

Coughlin and the team made adjustments to the setup for eliminations, hoping to simply get down the track against the lower-qualified Commisso. But things went wrong almost immediately, as the car went right. The left-side tires moved into the groove for the right-side tires, which put the right-side tires out of any groove.

“It’s spinning, so the other tire was pushing me right to the wall,” Coughlin said. “You try to lift a little bit and get back into it, but it strikes the back tires some more and wants to drive it into the wall even harder. It was a handful. I had to lift.”

Coughlin will regroup for the next Pro Mod race, which takes place April 27-29 in Houston.


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