Although it may seem odd that a straight-line professional would practice on a road course, Coughlin, the reigning NMCA Pro Street champion who will pilot the JEGS.com Pro Mod Camaro in Norwalk, says the knowledge he gained will serve him well.
“One thing you learn very quickly going around a road course is patience,” Coughlin said. “You can’t bully your car and push it to the extreme every turn or you’re going to end up in the gravel. You want to be aggressive, but you must stay in control.
“On so many levels, driving a Pro Mod car requires the same discipline. When you launch the car and the front wheels are in the air and you feel that you may not be going perfectly straight, the natural reaction is to do something to correct the situation. The reality is you can’t drive the car when the front wheels are up so what you need to do is relax, let the car settle down, and then drive it from there.”
Aside from zipping around the course in a race-ready Acura RSX, Coughlin spent time on the skid pad where instructors can mechanically throw the balance of a car off to test the driver’s ability to maintain control.
“Pro Mod cars are always on the edge so being able to keep your composure under pressure can be critical,” Coughlin said. “The skid pad was perfect for practicing that control. It was definitely time well spent.”
Coughlin hopes to use the information he gained at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car School in the seventh of 10 races in the Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Currently fifth in the world rankings, he knows he’ll have plenty of support at the home state race.
“My son T.J. is racing, my brothers Jeg and John are racing, Jeg’s fiancé Samantha is racing, my wife Julie is bringing her entire family, I know my Dad and his wife Sue will be there, and from what I understand about 60 percent of the associates that work here at JEGS Mail Order are going so it’ll be a full house,” Coughlin said. “If ever there was a race where we wanted to put our best foot forward, this is it.
“Our car is there. We’ve been picking up our performance every race and I look at this weekend as a great chance to boost our standing in the points. We have two months off so I would love to have a big weekend to carry us to Indy. We’re ready to get after it.”
The first two Pro Mod qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4 and 7 p.m. Friday.
Information regarding JEGS Mail Order can be found atwww.jegs.com and for media/fan resources checkout www.teamjegs.com .