Troy Coughlin to return with Pro Mod car Veteran Pro Stock driver Troy Coughlin will return to competition in 2005 in a 1967 Shelby G.T. 500E sponsored by Jeg's Mail Order. The 40-year-old older brother of three-time series champion Jeg ...
Troy Coughlin to return with Pro Mod car
Veteran Pro Stock driver Troy Coughlin will return to competition in 2005 in a 1967 Shelby G.T. 500E sponsored by Jeg's Mail Order. The 40-year-old older brother of three-time series champion Jeg Coughlin will be competing on the 12-race NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge tour.
Troy will race under the successful Gotham City Racing umbrella and will begin a rigorous off-season testing regimen beginning in December to help him make the transition from driving a car with a 500-inch motor and carburetors to a 526-inch, supercharged Hemi prepared by veteran engine builder Chuck Ford.
"I have wanted to do this for quite some time and this is great for Jeg's," Troy said. "Mike Ashley is providing me with the opportunity to do it. What a thrill this is going to be. They are 30 to 40 miles per hour faster than Pro Stock cars. It throws you back in the seat and it keeps you there. There's nothing that compares to driving one."
Troy already has participated in several private test sessions during the spring and it didn't take long for him to fall in love with the 2,000-plus horsepower machine.
"The 500-inch, five-speed cars can be violent in their own way and eventually it settles down and you feel somewhat free in the car," Coughlin said. "But these cars won't turn you loose. You don't come out of that seat until you pull the parachutes. I like that.
"This program is exciting to me and everyone here at Jeg's. I wish March was here now. But, I have to wait."
A big factor in Troy making the switch to Pro Mod is the 12-race Pro Mod schedule, which allows him to devote more time to his family. Yet, the alliance with Gotham City Racing enables Troy to compete in a car that will contend for the championship.
"When you look at what this team has accomplished in the midst of some tough teams, says a lot about the character of this team," Troy said. "From a point of professionalism and being a first-class team, this is a great bunch of people. What an incredible operation that Mike has assembled here. This is certainly an organized operation and more than capable of fielding three competitive cars."
Ashley, the current point leader of the 2004 NHRA AMS Pro Modified Challenge and a two-time winner on the tour, is quick to point out adding Troy to the team adds a strong measure of credibility to the class.
"The Coughlin name is synonymous with professionalism," Ashley said. "We are excited to have Troy as part of our team. Troy is a naturally talented driver and I guarantee that he will make an impact on the class the first time he fires the car. We are certainly committed to winning on this team and there's no doubt that Troy is too. Bringing Jeg's on board makes a huge credibility statement to Corporate America. It says this is a class with direction."
Formerly a prominent figure in the Pro Stock class, Troy has more than held his own over the last decade, appearing in 10 final rounds and scoring back-to-back sixth-place finishes in 1999 and 2000. In 1997, Troy became the 11th member of the prestigious Holley Six-Second Pro Stock Club with a 6.97 elapsed time at the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
Coughlin won his first professional title at the Keystone Nationals in Reading, Pa., in 2001. He followed with a second victory a year later in Topeka, Kan. Coughlin also won the special non-points Winston Showdown at Bristol Dragway in 2000 and was runner-up to his brother Jeg in the Holley Dominator Duel specialty event.
The Gotham City Race Team likewise provides an atmosphere committed to excellence. Ashley was the first driver to qualify No. 1 at the inaugural Pro Modified event in Darlington, S.C., and equaled the feat in March of 2002 in the opening event of the AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge. Ashley has reached the finals of four NHRA events, winning twice.
In 2004, Gotham City expanded to add veteran driver Danny Rowe. Rowe has won two of three finals this season. In an unprecedented accomplishment for any team on the tour, Ford has directed both cars into the ultra-competitive fields for five consecutive events.
The addition of Troy to the class adds yet another prominent name to a group that includes icons Scotty Cannon, Brad Anderson, Jay Payne, and Richie Stevens.
"I'm up for the challenge," Troy said. "I think Jeg's is going to provide a significant boost in the arm for the class. There's a lot of potential in the class and that keeps getting larger and larger. I think with the fields reportedly getting larger and larger, it will get even tighter than it is with an eight-car field now."