Defending series champ Coughlin has rough return to NMCA action
READING, Pa. (June 7)—Reigning Pro Street world champion Troy Coughlin was well received by his fellow competitors when he returned to National Muscle Car Association action at this weekend’s eighth annual Kooks Custom Headers NMCA Muscle Car Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
After qualifying No. 5 on the grid with a 6.314-second pass at 224.26 mph in the same JEGS.com Pontiac GXP he drove to a pair of world records, multiple wins, and the 2009 championship, he came up short in Sunday’s opening round of eliminations. Racing against the lower qualified car of Bob Border Jr., Coughlin’s hot rod overpowered the racetrack enough at the starting line to hand Border the upset win.
“The air was worse than it was in qualifying but the track was better,” Coughlin said. “We just didn’t make the right adjustments for it and we got beat. Bob figured it out and we didn’t, so congratulations to him.
“We’re making things harder on ourselves than they need to be. After missing the first race of the NMCA season altogether we knew our margin for error had gotten smaller. Now it’s completely gone, especially with the same guys that did well in Bradenton (Fla., site of the season opener) advancing to the semis here. But that’s okay; we tend to do well when our backs are against the wall.”
After leaving the line ahead of Border with a .022-second reaction time to Border’s .032-second start, Coughlin’s massive rear tires soon started to spin, followed almost immediately by a severe bout of tire shake. He expertly worked through the troubles and was banging the gears as best he could, but Border was too far gone, taking the win with a 6.39 at 218 mph to Coughlin’s 6.90 at 218 mph.
“Too much wheel speed,” he said. “I had to get on and off it a few times and that was it for me. The car was running great all weekend up to that point. I’d say the weekend was a success.
“It was great to be back with my friends in the NMCA and everyone was very cool to us and genuinely pleased to see us back. It was also very satisfying to talk to the fans and hear them say they were happy we came back to defend our championship. We’re certainly glad we’re back and we’re going to do everything we can to catch up at the next race.”
The next NMCA national event takes place July 15-18 at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago with the fifth annual running of the Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing.