INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 5) — JEGS.com driver Troy Coughlin Sr. came within an eyelash of winning the U.S. Nationals again.
Coughlin left .001-second too soon in the final round of the J&A Service Pro Mod Series race presented by JEGS.com on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway against Von Smith, drawing a red-light and giving the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals title to Smith.
Coughlin had gotten to the finish line well ahead of his opponent after Smith’s car wiggled at the hit and veered to the left, and he shut it off as Coughlin sped ahead, but the race was already decided.
“We had the car to beat all weekend,” Coughlin said. “We had the car to beat in the final, and what a bummer, but, hey, that’s racing. If you’re not red-lighting, you’re not trying hard enough.”
Coughlin, the first in the family to win the Big Go when he won in Super Gas in 1991, had a spectacular weekend at drag racing’s most prestigious race, qualifying No. 1 and setting low elapsed time nearly every time the yellow-and-black turbocharged Corvette took to the track.
“We had a fast car every session,” Coughlin said. “We had low for the round every single round except one, including all of the qualifying runs. Ever since the sanctioning body took the boost away from us back in June in Norwalk, Ohio, we’ve just been hard at work trying to get this thing to run better.
“The guys at Pro Line (Racing Engines) and (crew chief) Steve (Petty) and Mike (Rees) and Kyle (Pettis) and everybody sticking behind us at JEGS.com have really put forth an excellent effort. The driving was decent all weekend and we had the car to beat and we kicked a lot of ass.”
Coughlin won in the first round on Sunday and then kicked off Monday with a victory over Bob Rahaim in the second round. Coughlin’s .013-second reaction time and pass of 5.834 seconds at 254.42 mph ran away from Rahaim’s .046 light and 5.963 at 245.00 mph.
Coughlin was great on the Christmas Tree in the semifinals, too, with a .018 light against Bill Glidden that gave him a lead he wouldn’t relinquish in a 5.841-second run at 252.85 mph. Glidden’s pass was 5.886 seconds at 250.37 mph.
Coughlin’s final-round appearance helped him cut into Rickie Smith’s points lead. Smith lost in the second round.
“We have to look at the points and see where we stack up, but hopefully we at least cut this thing in half,” Coughlin said. “And the guys that are below me and Rickie are even further down. Pretty exciting weekend. I’m pretty fired up. We’ve got a good hot rod, and we are ready to go to Charlotte.”
Credit: Rob Geiger