BRISTOL, Tenn. - The NHRA record books don't list Troy Coughlin as an official NHRA national event winner, but the Columbus, Ohio driver does know what it's like to be the centerpiece in the Winner's Circle. That's because Coughlin's only career...
BRISTOL, Tenn. - The NHRA record books don't list Troy Coughlin as an official NHRA national event winner, but the Columbus, Ohio driver does know what it's like to be the centerpiece in the Winner's Circle. That's because Coughlin's only career victory -- the 2000 Winston Showdown, NHRA's all-star event at Bristol Dragway -- gave him a lucrative payday of $50,000 and all the thrills and chills that come with an official NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series triumph, but no national event points. Coughlin, one of several NHRA Pro Stock leaders in search of a first national event win, hopes to draw upon his past Bristol success when he competes in the inaugural Mac Tools NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, April 27-29 at Bristol Dragway.
The $1.9 million race is the sixth of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series, and the first official NHRA national event to take place at Bristol Dragway since 1967.
"To return to Bristol Dragway for the Mac Tools NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals as the defending champ is an honor," said Coughlin, who also posted a runner-up effort at the '99 Winston Showdown. "The facility is simply the best in the country and you can tell that Bruton Smith and his staff really did their homework. Mac Tools picked a great race to get involved with. The fans from the area know racing and that always creates a lot of excitement."
After finishing sixth in the 2000 Winston standings, Coughlin has experienced some difficulties early this season. In his first four races of 2001, he posted two first round losses and two DNQs (did not qualify). With eight career runner-up finishes to his credit, Coughlin knows its only a matter of time before he starts enjoying the same success that his younger brother does, defending series champ Jeg, a 22-time national event winner.
"Team Jeg's has really shown plenty of strength at the high altitude tracks like Bristol Dragway," he explained. "We have a firm handle on the tuning that it takes to run well in conditions where there is not much room for error. Our team has done extremely well at Bristol Dragway and we are looking forward to continuing our winning ways."
As Troy continues to seek his first national event win, the sweet taste of victory he enjoyed at Bristol one year ago leaves a lasting impression that won't soon be forgotten.
"I can remember winning the Winston Showdown last year like it happened yesterday," he said. "The guys on the team were yelling on the radio so loud that I didn't even know what happened. When they told me that I won, I went nuts inside the car. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face. I have the trophy in my office and it is the first thing that I look at every day when I open my door."