race reports

NHRA Pros Mods at St. Louis


Coughlin Takes Points Lead with One Race to Go

Words by Kay Burk

Photos by Ron Lewis

Troy Coughlin got the win in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park on Oct. 1. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the 11th of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.


Coughlin powered to a 5.792-second pass at 257.24 mph in his JEGS.com Corvette to earn the victory over Khalid al Balooshi in the final round.  This is Coughlin’s third career victory at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Rickie Smith


Coughlin raced to a 5.752-second pass at 257.33 mph to defeat Rickie Smith in the first round of eliminations. With his win, and No. 1 qualifier Mike Castellana’s first round loss to Pete Farber, the battle for the Pro Mod crown will be decided at the J&A Service Series season finale in Las Vegas.


There were several redlights in the first round, unusual for this class, with Danny Rowe, Shane Molinari and “Stevie Fast” Jackson all turning on the red bulb.

Mike Castellana lost the points’ lead with a first-round loss to Pete Farber.

Pete Farber


Farber, who was the No. 16 qualifier, defeated Castellana with a 5.823 pass at 249.39 mph to Castellana’s 7.370 at 132.41. Farber next defeated Sidnei Frigo 5.821/250.74 to 5.928/245.18, but then met Coughlin, who ended his day.


"It's pretty exciting,” Coughlin said. “I mean, when I saw the scoreboard light up on Farber's side [when he ran Castellana], I saw that and said, ‘Just keep yourself together here and try to get around Rickie.' We had to step on this thing and keep on thrashing on it. The guys have been doing a great job doing that. I couldn't be more excited about our chances at a championship. [Castellana going out first round] keeps us in the race. There's still seven rounds of competition left.”


Coughlin defeated Steven Whiteley 5.783/255.29 to 5.777/252.05 due to a quicker 0.029 Reaction Time to Whiteley’s 0.061, and then Farber on his way to the finals.


AlBalooshi first defeated Carl Stevens after a bit of a starting line duel. Stevens was off the line first (.100 RT to .122 for alBalooshi) but alBalooshi soon was ahead and went on for the win recording a 5.850/247.84 to 6.102/201.34 for Stevens.


AlBalooshi next took the measure of Jim Whiteley, Steven’s father. Even though Whiteley was off the line first with a .039 to alBalooshi’s .079, the Bahrain Racing 1 Camaro made the quickest pass of the weekend for the win, 5.778250.00 mph to Whiteley’s 6.442/170.43.

In the semifinal, Steve Matusek (near lane) handed the win to alBalooshi with a red-light start.


Coughlin entered the event second in the Pro Mod standings and claimed the No. 1 spot over Mike Castellana with the victory.


“The whole JEGS.com team has been fantastic," Coughlin stated. "We just kept picking at it and kept trying to pick it up. I’ve been driving pretty decent. We couldn’t be more excited to have the points lead going into Vegas. We’ve never had the points lead going into Vegas - we’ve always been behind. It feels great to be ahead. We just need to maintain what we’ve been doing.”


The J&A Service Pro Mod Series concludes at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev. Oct. 26-29.


Pro Modified Points After 11 of 12 Events


1. Troy Coughlin, 818; 2. Mike Castellana, 792; 3. Shane Molinari, 628; 4. Steve Jackson, 600; 5. Sidnei Frigo, 579; 6. Steven Whiteley, 569; 7. Jonathan Gray, 549; 8. Steve Matusek, 537; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 461; 10. Rickie Smith, 441. 




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