Troy Coughlin didn’t let overwhelming odds deter his determination.
As a result, the Pro Modified driver made his trip for Delaware, Ohio, doubled down and in the end scored the jackpot with his first career NHRA Pro Modified world championship.
Coughlin entered the NHRA Big O Tires Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas as a longshot, ranked third in the points. He reeled in Rickie Smith, surpassing him based on qualifying points and then defeated Mike Castellana in the second round. Needing to win the event to clinch, Coughlin beat Leah Pruett in the semis and No. 1 qualifier Donnie Walsh in the final round.
The margin of victory in the championship battle was three points.
“Steve Petty and all the guys back at Jegs have done such a fabulous job in making my job much simpler,” said Coughlin. “What a great hot rod and what a great day.”
His victory was made even more special based on the decision to run a new C-6 Corvette for the first time.
“We weren’t going to bring the new car out until next year and then we tested it last week,” said Coughlin, of his new R2B2-built, twin-turbo entry. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this thing drives pretty nice. It drives like a bracket car.
“A bracket car is smooth and straight. This thing will spin the tires at half-track going straight at 220 miles per hour, and I said, ‘I’ve never had a car like that before.'
“I just made an executive decision and decided to run this car.”
Coughlin, no stranger to racing, competed in various NHRA sportsman categories before a stint in Pro Stock and later moving into Pro Modified. The deep level of experience paid off nicely.
“We approached the day as we were going to go out and run as fast as we can and not overpower the track,” Coughlin explained. “We wanted to take the day, one race at a time and go up there and just make laps. I knew I needed to get off of the starting line on time and light up the win lights.”
When you’re in the Coughlin bloodline, you are born into a championship tradition. Younger brother Jeggie Coughlin has five series titles and with this victory Troy adds a second crown since winning the NMCA Pro Street title in 2009.
“When Jeggie won his first championship, he had a ring and added a stone to it,” said Coughlin. “Each year he won a championship, he added a stone to it. When I won my championship on the street car series, I added a stone to it. I get to add one and now we have seven stones. It’s so awesome to be a piece of that history with the group of guys we have here.”
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