MUNCIE, Ind. (Sept 9, 2010) – Last weekend, 20-year old third-generation racer Troy (T.J.) Coughlin Jr., won the most prestigious drag race in the world when he claimed the Super Comp title at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Now, he hopes to strike while the iron is hot as he travels to Muncie Dragway in Muncie, Ind., for the annual Million Dollar Drag Race. Now in its 14th year, the Million Dollar Drag Race is the quintessential big money E.T. bracket race with the eventual champion normally winning upwards of $200,000. With the stakes so high, the event, much like the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, attracts all of drag racing’s best sportsman drivers. With that in mind, Coughlin knows he must maintain the focus and determination that allowed him to claim the victory last weekend.
“After winning Indy, I’m going into this race with a lot of confidence,” said Coughlin. “That’s good because I know how tough the Million Dollar race is. It’s held on an eighth-mile which means the racing is more competitive and the rounds are closer. I’m also going to have to compete against all the best bracket racers in the world so I have to be prepared for anything and everything.”
The Million Dollar race was originally scheduled to be held at O’Reilly Raceway Park, but was moved to nearby Muncie Dragway at the last minute. Despite the change, Coughlin isn’t about to alter his game plan. In addition to Saturday’s main event, which could pay as much as $1,000,000 to the winner if 552 or more drivers ante up the $2,000 entry fee, Coughlin will also participate in a pair of $30,000 to win races on Friday and Sunday, and a $20,000 to win “gambler’s race” to be held on Thursday, Sept. 9.
“There’s a lot of money up for grabs this weekend, but it isn’t free,” said Coughlin. “Whoever wins this race is going to have to earn it. Obviously, it would have been great to have the race in Indy because I just came from there and have a lot of data on the track but I don’t believe that it will be much different having the race in Muncie. [Crew chief] Kenny Underwood is the best in the business when it comes to figuring out a new track so I’m sure we’ll be as ready as we can be.”
Coughlin will be racing the same yellow and black JEGS.com dragster that carried him to victory at the U.S. Nationals, but he and crew chief Underwood will make several small changes, including disconnecting the throttle stop that is used for Super Comp racing and adjusting the starting line rpm.
“Basically, we can have the car in ‘bracket race mode’ in less than an hour,” said Coughlin. “Either way, the car is very consistent so I’m confident that we’ve got the right equipment for the job. I hope that winning the Million right after winning Indy isn’t too much to ask for. I don’t want to go from a hero to a zero but no matter what happens we’re going to have a fun weekend.”
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