LAS VEGAS – While the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series stretched its Countdown to the Championship drama into November, the NHRA Pro Care Rx Pro Modified Series ended its suspense Sunday at the Big O Tires Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Just the same, Troy Coughlin made sure the Pro Mod program has plenty of excitement.
The veteran racer from Delaware, Ohio, drove his brand-new R2B2 Race Cars-built, Steve Petty-tuned twin-turbo Corvette to the event victory over Donnie Walsh Jr. to clinch his first NHRA championship. He won the series title by three points more than 2011 champion Mike Castellana in the final standings.
Coughlin entered the weekend in third place, 42 points behind Castellana in third place. So he took the risk of breaking in a virtually unknown car in a last-ditch effort to gain two-plus rounds of racing with only four left.
"We came into this race with a brand-new car. We tested here with it a week ago, and it was running well. So we decided to enter it in the race. Of course, everyone else said we were crazy, but Steve Petty and all the guys worked so hard to give me a perfect car and, bottom line, it's so much easier to drive than anything I've had in the past. It worked perfectly all weekend and we needed every bit of it to get this title."
He received his trophy Sunday night at the Pro Mod banquet at Las Vegas, but what excited him just as much was a special family ring.
Coughlin said his younger brother, five-time NHRA champion and Pro Stock star Jeg Coughlin, "started this deal where each of us [the four Coughlin brothers] have rings with a stone in it for each national championship we've won. I added one in 2009, when I won the NMCA Pro Street title. And now this one, combined with the five Jeg has won, will put us up to seven stones.
"It's just incredible to think about it," he said. "To be a piece of the history of JEGS Racing, considering the guys I'm racing with, is pretty awesome."