BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (May 7) — Pro Street driver Troy Coughlin has caught himself saying the same thing over and over as his contemplates his less-than-perfect race outing at the fifth annual NOS NMCA Hot Rod & Muscle Car Nationals at Beech Bend Raceway — “I should’ve won the race.”

It’s an old rant, he admits, but one that truly seems apropos as he squandered his chance to take home the trophy in the Denso Spark Plugs Pro Street category when he left the starting line one-thousandths of a second early Sunday. The premature start immediately disqualified the talented pro from Delaware, Ohio, and left him to dream about what could’ve been.

“I was cutting great lights in qualifying,” Coughlin said of his string of 6.6-second qualifying passes that earned him the No. 3 starting slot. “I guess I just got a little too pumped up on race day. Too much adrenaline, I suppose.”

If not for the starting-line miscue, Coughlin would’ve been tough to beat as his opening-round opponent didn’t make it down the racetrack under power. According to an onboard computer, had Coughlin made a full pull he would’ve posted a 6.58 at 215 mph, potentially making him the quickest and fastest car of the session.

Adding insult to injury, his second-round race would’ve been a bye run as the winner of the race in the adjacent bracket on the elimination ladder blew his car up in Round 1 and was unable to make the call for the second session.

“Right there we would’ve been in the semifinals at a bare minimum,” Coughlin said. “This was our race to win, no doubt about it, and it makes the red-light that much harder to swallow. But, this is part of racing and you can’t undo the past. So we’ll just stay after it and prepare the car a little differently for the next race.”

Coughlin remains a solid top-10 car with his ’04 JEG’S Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier. The third of seven events in the National Muscle Car Association Pro Edelbrock Series — the second annual NMCA Hot Rod & Muscle Car Nationals — takes place June 2-4 at Coughlin’s home track, National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio.

Prior to that event, Coughlin will race a 1963 Corvette Roadster in the Super Gas category in the 42nd annual Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals May 18-21 at National Trail Raceway.

“We have some time to work on the Pro Street car and get it to leave a little slower,” Coughlin said. “That sounds counterproductive to what we try to do in racing but the facts are I don’t need double-0 lights to win over here. But I do know I sure as heck can’t win if I red light. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”

For more information on the JEG’S Mail Order race team, please visit Jegs.com. For additional information on this event and the entire NMCA Pro Edelbrock series, visit fasteststreetcar.com.

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