FYI WIRZ: NHRA Pro Mod Hot Rods Are Scorching for Champion Troy Coughlin

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIINovember 6, 2012

The 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season comes to a big end this weekend in Pomona, CA, but Team JEGS Pro Modified standout Troy Coughlin has already had a huge weekend.

His performance was no roll of the dice at the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway recently.

Coughlin raced to his first NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Pro Care Rx Series world championship in his new—never raced—2012 Corvette.

It was Vegas drama.

Coughlin edged leader Mike Castellana by three points after defeating speedster Don Walsh in the finals.

The popular Pro Modified class is an eclectic mix of old and new car styles with powerful engine packages.

Coughlin explained the class in detail.

Pro Mods are an exciting class to watch because of the different body styles, got old cars, got new cars. You got import cars starting to come in. It’s a really cool up-and-coming class that I think has a strong fan base. Fans love these cars.

The National Hot Rod Association has four professional classes, 10 Sportsman classes and the Pro Modified class racing its drag strips across the US. All classes are fast by street standards, but Coughlin described Pro Mods for new fans.

Pro Mods are a class between Pro Stock and Funny Car. You have all walks of life driving them, different body styles, different engine combinations and different safety rules and different weight brakes per power added.

Coughlin suggests the best way to understand the Pro Mod class is to go to an NHRA race and watch the cars go down the track. That experience is not as dramatic as driving one, but the power and competition is colorful and intense. Watching is loud, fast and fun.

Pro Modified is Pro Stock on steroids. The back tires are trying to eat the front end of the car up. You got these 2700 pound cars accelerating so fast that they get to 5.7, 5.8 seconds in a quarter mile at 250 some miles an hour. It’s just an animal.

Coughlin has won a championship in Muscle Cars but never a national championship at the NHRA level. His brother, Jeg Coughlin Jr., has four NHRA Pro Stock championships. Four Coughlin brothers own JEGS high performance parts and all have lifelong racing careers with many side-by-side wins. But Troy finally broke into the NHRA national record books with his championship victory.

Coughlin shared his emotions.

It’s something bigger in life.Champions are the best of the best—a great feeling. What a great accomplish for myself as an individual and for our team. It’s a group effort to make this thing run. There’s a handful that makes this thing go.

Team JEGS played a big role in taking a new race car to the final race.

The crew chief, Steve Petty, Brian, Nick and Mike—we sat around and talked about the pluses and minuses of this car. Too many pluses with the new car because it drives so much better. It’s designed for this power. It’s easier to drive. Everything works better, easier to tune.

Coughlin credits crew chief Steve Petty for his contributions to the championship.

“This year we’ve had a ball,” he said. Steve is a sharp guy and a good delegator. He’s a good tuner and coach.”

And next year the current champion will take his proficient Team JEGS to the first race to compete with determined and skilled teams in his Corvette.

It’s said a second championship is tougher than the first. Time and speed will tell.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of topics by Dwight Drum at Unless otherwise noted, information and all quotes were obtained from personal interviews or official release materials provided by sanction and team representatives.