Coughlin Jr. drives McPhillips Dragster to 2019 Atco Divisional win

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

ATCO, NJ — JEGS Top Alcohol Dragster driver Troy Coughlin Jr. won the Wally on Saturday night at Atco Dragway in Atco, New Jersey. The Delaware, Ohio native was able to get a win for the Pennsylvania-based McPhillips Racing team near their backyard.

This is Coughlin Jr.’s first TAD Divisional win of the 2019 season. In addition, it is the McPhillips Racing team’s third Wally at the Atco Divisional since it started in 2014, as Rich McPhillips won in 2014 and 2015.

Top Alcohol Dragster driver Troy Coughlin Jr. racing on Saturday at the 2019 Atco Divisional
Troy Coughlin Jr. racing on Saturday at the 2019 Atco Divisional (Photo by Anthony Caruso III)

Coughlin Jr. went 5.556 at 263.98 mph for the win. Josh Hart — who had won the previous three Atco Divisionals in Top Alcohol Dragster — lost after he smoked the tires nearly all the way down the track.

The Ocala, Florida native went 8.816 at 208.01 mph in the losing effort.

“It’s awesome,” Coughlin Jr. said. “It’s a family team. It’s similar to what I came from in Delaware, Ohio. It’s so cool because of our situation here. We had a complete motor change — we lost a motor in the semifinals against Duane Shields. We had to change the motor and put a new set of heads on. We were on a time clock from the run before. The work that went into this with Rich and Richie McPhillips, Duke Roney, John Flenard, Andy Goode, Charlie Wroten, and Charlie Greco — we also had a ton of help from my sister Paige, Justin Beaver, who works on our cars at home in Columbus — jumped in and helped right away.

“A couple of the PEAK guys showed up and the Finke Racing team showed up to help. Just the fact that there’s so much love in this sport, and so much love in this Division for drag racing for people to come and help you like that, it’s extremely humbling and I’m grateful. It’s the luckiest I’ve ever been to get up there when you’re on a clock like that.”

This is his second win in the category. In June, he won the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Top Alcohol Dragster final at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

He defeated Will Smith in the final round, as he went 5.266 at 278.40 mph for the win. Smith went 5.564 at 275.51 mph in the losing effort.

Coughlin Jr. and the McPhillips Racing team were able to get more time when there was an oil down on the track in Top Sportsman before the final round.

“Luck was on our side [Saturday night],” Coughlin Jr. said. “Any win essentially parlays your way to a great shot at a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series championship so we will see how it goes. We’ve got some great people out there competing with us so, stay tuned.”

This is Coughlin Jr.’s fourth Divisional win in TAD, as he also won at Beech Bend Raceway, Cecil County Dragway, and Norwalk Raceway in 2018. He also won the Dodge NHRA Nationals in TAD at the national event last Sept. at the McPhillips home track.

Coughlin Jr. defeated Frank Schuster and Duane Shields, before the final round win over Hart. In the semi-final, Coughlin Jr. went 7.383 at 124.22 mph, while Shields had trouble and went 10.705 at 92.09 mph.

He also went 5.302 at 259.46 mph to get the win over Schuster, who went 8.234 at 98.41 mph.

“It’s a huge family,” he said. “I’m encouraging you, if you read this and you’ve never been to a drag race, or you’ve never drag raced, but you want to, consider it. It’s a great sport to raise kids in. You can’t beat it.”

Top Alcohol Dragster driver Troy Coughlin Jr. with the Wally after winning at the 2019 Atco Divisional
Troy Coughlin Jr. with the Wally after winning at the 2019 Atco Divisional (Photo by Anthony Caruso III)

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