GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series returns to Gainesville to kick off the 2013 season with the running of the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 14-17 at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. This is the first of 10 races in the series and Troy Coughlin will be looking to defend his 2012 world championship title, which he earned in dramatic fashion.
Coughlin entered the 2012 season-ending event in Las Vegas third in points, 42 markers behind Mike Castellana. Coughlin was clutch down the stretch at the final event and defeated Don Walsh in the final round to get his second victory of the season. He won the championship by a mere three points. The championship run was a whirlwind for Coughlin and his success wasn’t truly realized until he returned to team headquarters.
“I think it really sunk in when we got back to JEGS and saw the banners and how excited everybody was,” Coughlin said. “The articles and the pictures always help to bring back the emotions from that day. One of the cool things about the championship banners was that they were signed by all the people we work with at JEGS.com.”
Coming from the back of the pack to win the championship was thrilling for the fans of the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series as they watched it shake out later in the season. While the results came out in Coughlin’s favor, a strong start to the year would help put the team at the front of the pack in the competitive series.
“It’s real important to get off to a great start at the season-opener in Gainesville to try and stay ahead of the game rather than trying to play catch-up for most of the season,” Coughlin continued. “We are as prepared as we can be, now just with a little bit of luck. Can’t wait till March 15 to see where we stand against one of the most competitive classes in NHRA drag racing.”
For the majority of the 2012 season, Coughlin drove his trusted ’68 Chevy Camaro and recorded his first series win in the familiar yellow and black car at St. Louis. When the team arrived in Las Vegas, they made a dramatic decision to shelve that car and debuted a turbocharged late model Corvette for the final race of the season and will return to battle with it this season.
“We will be racing the 2012 R2B2 Corvette in Gainesville,” Coughlin said. “We have probably 15 to 17 runs on the car and the guys have done a great job of making it the best it can be. I'm excited.”
The 2013 Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will feature the quickest doorslammers from across the country as they battle for a win in one of the wildest classes in the NHRA. A mix of Camaros, Mustangs, Corvettes and Barracudas will take to the track during the course of the event. At the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals fans will see past national event winners such as Mike Castellana, Danny Rowe and Brad Personett in competition on the track.
• SCHEDULE: NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m. on March 15 and at 11:30 a.m. on March 16. The first round of Pro Mod eliminations begins on March 16 at 1:45 p.m. Pro Mod eliminations continues on March 17.
• TICKETS: Tickets are available for the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals (800) 884-6472. Tickets also available online at www.NHRATix.com.
• ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
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NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES FACT SHEET
AMALIE OIL NHRA GATORNATIONALS
WHAT: 44th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, the first of 10 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. The race will also showcase the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, Gainesville, Fla. The track is located on 11211 North County Road 225 in Gainesville.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 167 feet above sea level; Track direction is west to east.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, March 14-17.
FRIDAY, March 15
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 1:45 p.m. and 4 p.m.
SATURDAY, March 16
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 11:30 a.m.; first round of eliminations at 1:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, March 17 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
NHRA PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES eliminations continue at approximately 2:30 p.m.
2012 WINNER: Rickie Smith
TRACK RECORDS: 5.809 seconds by Jay Payne, March ’10; 256.26 mph by Troy Coughlin, March ’12.
NATIONAL RECORDS: 5.772 sec. by Melanie Troxel, June. ’11, Englishtown; 258.71 mph by Troxel, June ’11, Englishtown.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRATIX.com.