INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 30) – For dyed-in-the-wool drag racers and fans, Indy is more than a place; it’s the place. Every straight-line racer dreams of hoisting the Indy “Wally” trophy toward the sky as peers and fans now gaze upon them in a forever-different light, the brilliant light where the victor of the NHRA’s Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals inhales that rare air of the winner’s circle.
Troy Coughlin Sr., driver of the JEGS.com Chevrolet Corvette C7 Pro Mod, has experienced the unique spoils of winning the most prestigious drag racing event on the planet as an amateur Super Comp racer in NHRA’s Sportsman ranks in 1991. Now, the seasoned two-time J&A Service Pro Mod Series world champion (2012, 2015) is eager to place accompanying professional hardware in his trophy case after this Labor Day weekend’s 63rd annual running of the “Big Go” at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
“My first NHRA national event win was in Indy – It was unbelievable,” Coughlin, a 52-year-old Ohio native, said. “It’s six days of racing starting at 6:30 in the morning and running until almost 9:00 at night. All the hype and pressure of Indy is one thing and at the same racing the best of the best and, man, it’s just Indy. Every race fan should get the opportunity to experience it. It’s different from all the rest of major events that we go to because it’s Indy – It’s huge.
“To be fortunate enough as a family to be in the winner’s circle regardless of which brother or son or nephew is awesome. My son T.J. (Troy Coughlin Jr.) won in 2014 (Super Gas) and 2010 (Super Comp), so he’s got one up on me.
Currently in 2nd place in championship points, Coughlin Sr. won the event in Bristol, Tenn. in June, and he knows another Indy win at this year’s event could give him a needed boost to get his third championship in one of NHRA’s most popular racing classes.
“We’ve been to a couple of finals and were fortunate enough to win one of them,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had a couple of low ET’s, and we have a speed record this year so things are going pretty good. We’re testing in St. Louis now just to make sure we cross our t’s and dot our i’s going into the biggest race of the year.
“We certainly have a shot at this year’s title, and we’re going to keep fighting right to the end.”
Ever the ambassador for the sport he loves, Coughlin Sr. is quick to promote the J&A Service Pro Mod Series as much as he promotes himself.
“The class is growing so we really don’t want to make a whole lot of changes or try to fix something that’s not broken,” Coughlin said. “We want to keep gaining from what we’ve built and go after sponsors. Pro Mod is one of the only classes in drag racing over the last four or five years that’s had full fields at every event.
“Pro Mod has its own TV show and it’s a successful TV show, and I think things are getting better and better. The class is exciting, it’s growing, and it’s awesome. It’s fast cars with a short wheel base that are on the edge. They’re kind of like the Fuel Altered class of the 60s and 70s. My JEGS.com Chevy Corvette C7 is challenging but fun to drive. It’s by far my favorite class and we’ve had good success and good fun.”
Pro Mod drivers can make four qualifying runs, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday. There will be two more sessions at 1:45 and 5:00 p.m., Saturday, and another at 2:00 p.m., Sunday. Eliminations are slated to start at 5:00 p.m., Sunday. Eliminations continue Labor Day Monday at 12:25 p.m.