ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 2) – After a weekend of ups and downs behind the wheel of his JEGS.com Chevy Camaro Pro Mod car, Troy Coughlin finally got a smile of approval from tuner Steve Petty following a big first-round, holeshot victory over Leah Pruett on Saturday afternoon at the 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals.
“We needed that win. We needed to go down that track fast,” Coughlin said. “The guys did a good job, and it was the first time Steve smiled after a run this weekend. We’ll fix every gremlin that’s left and eventually it’ll all work out.”
Coughlin, the No. 14 qualifier, had a .040 reaction time against Pruett’s .085 in a battle of turbocharged cars. Pruett had the better ET – a 5.894-second pass at 251.91 mph to Coughlin’s 5.937 at 254.33 mph, but the edge he gained at the starting line was just enough for Coughlin to cross the finish line first.
“She’s tough and you have to be on your game against her,” Coughlin said. “Everyone is tough, but she’s a top-two player and you can’t cut her any slack.
“I can tell you this — it doesn’t take much for you to get your game going against a driver of her quality.”
Coughlin, whose best qualifying lap was a 6.051 at 244.65 mph, now faces Mike Janis, who beat Robert Patrick Jr. in the first round. Janis ran a 5.963 at 221.71 mph to easily beat Patrick’s aborted 12.837 at 89 mph.
“There have been bits and pieces we’ve missed here and there during the season,” Coughlin said. “It’s been a matter of fine-tuning from bumper to bumper trying to make this JEGS.com car happy. It’s not been from a lack of effort from these guys to get it done, it’s just taking time.
“This win today has been a big lift for everyone on the team. There’s no reason we can’t keep it going two or three more times tomorrow and really build momentum going into the rest of the season.”
NHRA Pro Mod Series eliminations continue Sunday afternoon from Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.