Drag Illustrated Issue 175, March / April 2022 - Page 30


Up to Speed

Mike Coughlin wins NHRA Winternationals in just his second Top Alcohol Dragster start

Mike Coughlin saw the success his nephew , Troy Coughlin Jr ., had racing for the McPhillips Racing team in Top Alcohol Dragster and there was a part of him that always wanted to go faster .

Add in the nitro lure with the team ’ s nitroinjected dragster , and Coughlin had to at least give it a try . As it so often goes when some gets to experience 5-second runs at nearly 290 mph , Coughlin was hooked . He made his Top Alcohol Dragster debut at the NHRA national event in Las Vegas last year , advancing to the second round and immediately gaining a craving for more .
Latching onto a successful team like McPhillips Racing , Coughlin has already proven to be a capable contender in a new class for him , winning the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona in just his second start in the class .
“ I still can ’ t believe it ,” Coughlin says . “ To sit in the winner ’ s circle at such an historic dragstrip is just hard to grasp , especially since I still feel like I ’ ve got so much to learn in this class . These guys at McPhillips Racing are just so good .”
Their track record is impressive , as Troy Coughlin Jr . won back-to-back regional championships with the team in 2018 and 2019 , racking up 10 victories before making the move to Pro Stock . But Mike Coughlin deserves plenty of credit , too , notching a win in his fifth different class to join an elite group of drivers .
Previously a winner in Top Dragster , Top Sportsman , Super Comp and Pro Stock Truck , Coughlin might have had the most fun picking up his latest victory .
A three-time Division 3 champion – twice in Top Sportsman and once in Top Dragster in 2019 – Coughlin qualified No . 1 with a strong blast of 5.223 seconds at 270.81 mph , which came after just a pair of preseason test runs .
He stayed in the 5.20s throughout eliminations , knocking off Joey Severance with a 5.237
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