There’s no better time go out than when you’re on top, and Troy Coughlin has taken that mantra to heart, announcing today his retirement from drag racing. Last month, Coughlin clinched his third NHRA Pro Modified championship in a drama-filled affair with Mike Castellana at the NHRA Toyota Nationals, and for the 53-year old veteran, the time just seemed right.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I’m certain I’m making the right choice,” Coughlin said. “I remember years ago when my dad (Jeg Coughlin Sr.) told us he was going to quit driving and we begged him not to because we loved racing with him so much. He simply said, ‘Some day you’ll understand.’ Now I do.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I’m certain I’m making the right choice.
Coughlin, a second-generation racer and a member of what many would consider the ‘first family’ of drag racing, has driven and won in virtually every car and class in the sport, save for Top Fuel and Funny Car. His first national event victory came 26 years ago, in 1991, when he won Super Gas at the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals, just a week after winning his first divisional in Bowling Green, Kentucky (Super Comp). After making his professional debut in 1994, he won three times in Pro Stock (2001, 2001, 2002) and has twelves victories in NHRA Pro Mod, along with three Street Car Super Nationals crowns and two Pro Street event titles.
“When I sat my team down to tell them what I was doing they were so awesome. Steve Petty, Mike Rees and Kyle Pettis, they’ve been remarkable through the years and have done all the hard work to make me look good. They’ve also become family to me. The times we’ve spent together, both at the track but particularly away from racing when we’re just having fun, those are the memories that mean so much.”
“Credit Steve, Mike and Kyle, along with Eric Dillard and Doug Patton at Proline Racing and FuelTech, who are all the absolute best in the business at what they do,” Coughlin said. “Our marketing and PR team of Scott Woodruff and Rob Geiger also worked extremely hard getting the word out through the years. I appreciate all of these people more than they’ll ever know. My dad used to say about the success of JEGS that, ‘Our people make this possible.’ I feel the same way about our team.
Coughlin departs the Pro Modified class when at a time when it’s popularity has soared — a status that he and his world-class JEGS.com team have played a pivotal role in creating.
“Pro Mod as a class has taken giant steps forward these last few years and it’s been great to be a part of it all. The level of competition and the respect and acceptance from the NHRA has really helped us become a worldwide deal. The best drivers in the world are in this class and they continually step up their games each year. I can tell you that nothing comes easy, which makes our three titles all the more satisfying for us.”
I’ve been drag racing for a long time, some 32 years now, and I’ve far exceeded any dreams I could have had when I started. It’s been an incredibly fun ride and the success we’ve enjoyed over the years is something we’ll always cherish.
“We put together a great racing resume and now I’m excited about moving forward, spending a bunch of time with my family,” Coughlin said. “With T.J. and Paige racing, that’ll keep me involved in the sport, which is very cool. I’ll just leave the driving to them.
“We also have a new CEO at JEGS, Jeff Hennion, and I’m eager to spend more time with him and my brothers as we take the company forward. As thankful as I am for everything that’s happened up until now, I’m equally excited about what the future holds.
“Steve Petty pointed out something really neat. He said, ‘Big daddy, you’re going out on top. Not many people get to do that so it’s really special.’ He’s right. I’ve been drag racing for a long time, some 32 years now, and I’ve far exceeded any dreams I could have had when I started. It’s been an incredibly fun ride and the success we’ve enjoyed over the years is something we’ll always cherish.”