Jonathan Gray (far lane) ran 5.926/243.02 to get the second-round win over Michael Bowman.


With the trophy up for grabs, Coughlin put himself in a great position to win right from the start when he left the starting line a massive .058 seconds ahead of Shane Molinari (.061 to .119). He didn't make any mistakes from that point, zipping to a 5.878 at 253.09 mph ahead of Molinari's 5.881 at 254.76 mph.

Khalid alBalooshi’s Camaro was the first-round victim of Michael Bowman.


Shane Molinari did not have the success he had hoped for during the 2016 NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season, only qualifying for two events. Things are looking a bit different this season.


He has qualified the past six races and posted his second runner-up in Bristol in his turbocharger-powered S&T Truck Repair Inc. '68 Firebird.


He is quick to note how much crew chief Brad Personett, a former Pro Mod standout, has helped, bringing a comfort level and consistency to the car that Molinari had never experienced before.


“I’m pretty happy and we’ve made a lot of headway the last couple races,” Molinari said. “Honestly, it’s just been putting laps on the car and playing with a little at a time, making small changes. We’ve qualified in the top half of the ladder every race, so we’re making progress. All in all, it’s been exciting. We’ve got a great crew and everybody works together. That makes life easier.”


Molinari defeated Jim Whiteley, Sidnei Frigo, and Rickie Smith to get to the final.

Sidnei Frigo (far lane) got the first-round win when his Corvette ran 5.927/249.90 to defeat the 5.960/244.34 of Pete Farber’s Dodge Daytona.

“Stevie Fast” Jackson has been strong since joining the J&A Service Pro Mod competition this season, but at Bristol Jonathan Gray (far lane) ran 5.898/246.03 to Jackson’s 5.901/243.94 in the first round.


NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing visits Norwalk, Ohio, for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park June 22-25.




1. Mike Castellana, 584; 2. Troy Coughlin, 479; 3. Steven Whiteley, 428; 4. Shane Molinari, 387; 5. Steve Jackson, 381; 6. Steve Matusek, 369; 7. Sidnei Frigo, 348; 8. Jonathan Gray, 322; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 273; 10. Danny Rowe, 267.

race reports

NHRA Pro Mods at Bristol, Tennessee


Words by Kay Burk

Photos by Chris Haverly

Troy Coughlin powered to the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory Sunday, June 18, at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. This Pro Mod race, presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, was the seventh of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.


Coughlin ran a 5.878-second pass at 253.09 mph in his JEGS Mail Order '15 Corvette to defeat No. 1 qualifier Shane Molinari and his S&T Truck Repair Inc. '68 Firebird’s 5.881 at 254.76 for his first win of the season.


Just a little over a week before, the 2012 and 2015 titlist was a distance fifth in the rankings, 234 points behind early-season class dominator Mike Castellana, but a runner-up finish last weekend in Englishtown, N.J., and Sunday's win at Bristol Dragway, coupled with a rough couple of races by Castellana and others ahead of him in the points, have helped Coughlin rise to second place, 105 out of the lead.

Points leader Mike Castellana (near lane) got past Steve Matusek in the first round on Friday 5.939/245.67 to 5.932/244.96, but then fell to reigning champ Rickie Smith in the second round on Saturday.


“We've had a fantastic car for the last two races, for sure," Coughlin said. "It's true we struggled a little bit in the middle part of the first half of the season but we are coming on strong now and nipping at the points leader's heels.


“What can I say about those guys -- Steve Petty, Kyle, Mike, the team and everybody at Mac Tools -- they’re a badass group of people,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had a fantastic car for the last race or so. We struggled a little bit in the middle part of the first half of the season, but it’s definitely coming around."

Mike Janis was the first to fall to Coughlin at Bristol.

Bob Rahaim (near lane) took the first-round win with a 5.855/247.98 to Michael Biehle’s 5.895/252.05.


Coughlin's toughest test Sunday came in his quarterfinal race against Bob Rahaim. Although he got a .007-second jump on Rahaim, he was soon passed and had to use all the power in his twin-turbo Corvette C7 to catch Rahaim’s Camaro and retake the lead, winning with a 5.890 at 253.95 mph ahead of Rahaim's 5.933 at 246.66 mph.


In the semis, Coughlin cruised away from an out-of-shape Jonathan Gray, crossing first with a 5.927 at 238.51 mph to Gray's resigned 8.965 at 84.55 mph.




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