Racing in the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series in 2010, Troy Coughlin enjoyed a lot of success as he posted a very respectable fourth place finish behind the wheel of his nitrous oxide-equipped JEGS.com Chevy Camaro. Racing against world class drivers all season, Coughlin’s performance was consistent from start to finish and he earned the dubious distinction of being the only driver in the class to qualify for all ten events in 2010. He also posted several semifinal finishes along the way.
“Overall, it was a pretty good year for us,” said Coughlin. “Being the only guy to qualify for every race says something not only about how competitive the series is, but also how solid our team is. Running a nitrous car, I felt like we were at a disadvantage against the supercharged and turbocharged cars but we were able to hold our own. At the last race in Las Vegas, we were sweating bullets because we struggled to qualify but we managed to get in and that helped us finish fourth.”
Coughlin, who is a former champion in the National Muscle Car Association’s Scorpion Performance Pro Street class, returned to that series with his JEGS.com Pontiac and reached the final round of the NMCA event in Charlotte, N.C., en route to a respectable third place finish.
“I really enjoy the NMCA races,” said Coughlin. “They are a lot of fun and I get to meet a lot of new people. My NMCA car is also a lot of fun to drive. It’s naturally aspirated so it reminds me of driving the Pro Stock car. I’d like to be able to run a few of those events in 2011 as well.”
Another personal highlight for Coughlin in 2010 was being on hand at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend to watch his son, T.J., capture the Super Comp title at the prestigious NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. The victory was especially gratifying for the elder Coughlin as he was not in Las Vegas for T.J.’s first victory last November.
“I had a wedding to attend last year when T.J. was in Las Vegas, but I’m glad I was there for the big win in Indianapolis,” Troy said. “It more than made up for missing the first one. T.J. has a good car and a good crew and his head is in the game. I’m really proud of him.”
Troy and his wife, Julie, also devote a great deal of time to their family including T.J., and their three daughters, Meghan, Paige and Kelly. Meghan currently works for JEGS Mail Order and has expressed an interest in joining the racing team possibly behind the wheel of a JEGS Super Street entry. Paige is an avid member of the Jr. Drag Racing League and she may soon be joined by Kelly, who recently celebrated her eighth birthday. Both Paige and Kelly are also heavily involved in the Ohio Hunter Jumper Association, which conducts Equestrian events in the Buckeye State. Paige is currently ranked No. 3 in her age group in Ohio while Kelly is ranked sixth.
Turning his attention to 2011, Troy will once again make major changes to his racing program as he plans to build a new car with a turbocharged engine for the Get Screened America Pro Mod series. Troy last raced a turbo car in 2007 before moving to a supercharged and later a nitrous oxide combination for last season. In order to help with the transition, the JEGS Mail Order team has hired turbo charging specialist Jake Hairston.
“If wouldn’t be an off-season if we didn’t make changes to power adders or build a new car,” Coughlin joked. “We have a lot of work to do this winter but I’m really excited about it. Last year, our nitrous car was good but I don’t think it was on par with the turbo or supercharged cars. We need to pick up a few hundredths and I think we can do that with our new turbo car. Jake will be a big help. He’s been there and done that. His family runs a very competitive turbo car and we’ll benefit from all that technology. I may even drive his car at the first race if my new car isn’t finished yet. As for the new car, it is being built by Jerry Bickel and it will either be a ’68 Camaro body or a ’11 Mustang. We aren’t sure just yet but whichever one we choose, I think we’ll have a better chance to win races this season.”
In addition to the 10-race Get Screened America Pro Mod Series, Coughlin’s busy schedule also includes select NMCA events and the annual Street Car Supernationals in Las Vegas in mid-November.