NHRA Pro Mod star Troy Coughlin began his off-season with a bang, winning the
third annual $50,000 North vs. South Big Dog Shootout Saturday at Piedmont
Dragway in Greensboro, N.C. Representing the North team, Coughlin, of Columbus,
Ohio, beat South finalist Buzz Varner down the eighth-mile by a 4.26- to
4.27-second advantage.

Although Coughlin was the biggest name racer among the Pro Street competitors,
Varner posed a credible threat in the final round of the 16-car field as he’d
qualified with a 4.24. Coughlin’s best pass in qualifying his Jeg’s Mail Order
Chevrolet Cavalier had shown a 4.30 on the clock, although he did post a
.997-second 60-foot time, the quickest in the history of the event.

But on race day Coughlin ran like a bracket racer, posting four straight
elimination passes all within one-hundredth of a second.

“What a great win for Team Jeg’s,” Coughlin said. “We beat some great drivers
and everyone one of them had awesome racecars. I think the only guy we raced who
was slower than us in qualifying was our first-round opponent. My crew chief
Bryan Metzenheim had this Cavalier running perfectly and we were lucky enough to
win.

“This ties the biggest payday in my drag racing career. I won the Winston
Showdown in Bristol and that was worth $50,000 also. This time they paid me in
cash. How cool is that? This is definitely one of the top moments in my
professional life.”

Coughlin beat Donnie Krusinski with a 4.26, John Lawson with a 4.25, and the
South’s team No. 1 qualifier Todd Tutterow with another 4.25 to get his chance
at the $50,000 top prize. There were a couple of historic moments along the way
for Coughlin. He bettered his record 60-foot elapsed time to .986 and was
involved in the quickest side-by-side race in event history when he beat Lawson
by .005 seconds.

The race against Tutterow also was dramatic as Tutterow’s driveshaft broke
during the run and came into the cockpit, injuring his right hand.

“I saw the EMTs coming down the return road at us and I wasn’t sure what had
happened,” Coughlin said. “I’m glad he’s okay because whenever something comes
into the cockpit it’s a scary situation. If he hadn’t broken his tranny I don’t
know if we would have even had a chance at Buzz.

“It was quite a finale. I felt like a Top Fuel guy the way the crowd was
reacting and cheering for us. I was anxious about the race because I know Buzz
wins a lot of these high-dollar outlaw races and he’d outrun us every round. I
guess we caught him at the right time and we took home the trophy, which is a
really cool bronze bulldog.

“We’re having a lot of fun and that’s what it’s all about.”

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