'Rookie' Coughlin still learning the ropes It seems strange to call Troy Coughlin a rookie driver. After all, he has 11 years of experience driving a Pro Stock car, which is widely considered the toughest hot rod to drive in NHRA competition. On...
'Rookie' Coughlin still learning the ropes
It seems strange to call Troy Coughlin a rookie driver. After all, he has 11 years of experience driving a Pro Stock car, which is widely considered the toughest hot rod to drive in NHRA competition. On top of that, Coughlin has piloted just about every kind of sportsman-level drag car in existence as he and his three brothers continue to live their lives in quarter-mile increments.
But the fact remains that in 2005 Coughlin is a rookie in the Pro Mod class.
After years of success in Pro Stock, Coughlin got tired of being away from his family for 23 weekends each year, which is what the current POWERade schedule requires. Instead, he decided to switch from his sleek Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier to a blown 1967 Shelby GT500E Ford Mustang capable of covering the quarter-mile in 6.1 seconds at 240 mph. The AMS Staff Leasing Pro Mod Challenge consists of 14 races.
"I'm loving it," Coughlin said. "I have a great racecar. It's louder and faster; what more could you want? Plus, I get to goof around with my kids a lot more. They're at those ages where there's a lot going on so I think I've really found a happy medium of family and racing.
"There's still a certain level of stress involved. I personally want to win as much as ever before. But the whole series is a lot more laid back than Pro Stock. Everyone is clearly in it for the love of the sport."
As Coughlin gears up for the second stop of the AMS Pro Mod Tour, the 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park, he hopes for an overall better performance than he had at the season-opener in Gainesville, Fla. Coughlin and the rest of the Pro Mod class lost one of three rounds of qualifying to weather, and on Sunday Coughlin opened his year by racing teammate and reigning champion Mike Ashley, which went to the veteran Pro Mod racer.
"Calling me a rookie is accurate," Coughlin said. "I'm still learning every pass. It would have been better to race someone other than the champ in my first elimination race but these things are bound to happen when you've got a teammate.
"After the race the guys made some changes to my car that will make it easier for me to drive. These things are a handful so I'm anxious to get to Houston and see how it responds. We haven't been able to use all the power we have yet so hopefully now we will. I know that once I get a handle on this car, we'll be going some rounds."
And leaving the 'rookie' moniker in his wake.