Troy Jr and his crew along with the Kenny family celebrate his Super Gas win at the Cecil County LODRS
Story by Phil Hutchison and courtesy of Team Jegs
Photos by Phil Hutchison and Diane Kubicke
It started Friday afternoon during the rain delayed Atco Lucas Oil Divisional. No, actually it really started two weeks earlier at the Atco event which was called after rain had halted the action with three rounds of racing completed. The race would resume in two weeks at the Cecil County Lucas event with 14 cars left in Super Gas. With that many cars still in the running, the chances of Troy Coughlin Jr and Jason Kenny meeting in the final were distant at best.
Troy’s trip to the winner’s circle at Cecil began at the Atco event two weeks earlier
But after the quarterfinals at Cecil, both Jason and Troy were still in the hunt and were on opposite sides of the ladder setting up a possible final round matchup.
Troy, the son of 2012 NHRA Pro Mod World Champ Troy Coughlin Sr and calls Delaware Ohio home, normally races out of Division 3 but was on the east coast racing at a high dollar bracket event the following week and decided to enter the Atco Lucas race.
Jason Kenny behind the wheel of his Corvette roadster
Jason, a regular on the NHRA Northeast Division scene as is his father Al Kenny, is the brother of Samantha Kenny, who is married to Troy’s uncle, Jeg Coughlin Jr. I don’t know if this makes Troy Jr a second brother in law, a distant cousin, or whatever, but both cars have the Jeg’s logo prominently displayed on their Corvettes and there is no mistaking Troy’s affiliation with the Jegs brand as his car is painted in the Jegs yellow and black color scheme.
Stalba (far lane) took out Troy Jr in the semis at the Atco event
Back to the Atco race, all hopes for a Troy Jr versus Jason final were dashed in the semifinals as Troy lost to eventual winner Tom Stalba Jr in a breaking out 9.868 to Stalba’s 9.905. Jason won his semifinal race over the Oldsmobile roadster of Derek Clark but lost the finals to Stalba on a hole shot.
Jason (near lane) over the Olds of Derek Clark
Jason said after the Atco final “TJ and I have been close to running each other in the Super Gas final twice this year, at Maple Grove and Atco. He made the Maple final and I lost in the semis. I made the Atco final and he lost in the semi. Jason continued, “Losing the Atco final to Stalba was pretty deflating from a points perspective”. Editor’s note: Although Jason leads the D1 points chase in Super Gas with 397 points to second place Stalba’s 324, Jason has already raced at 6 of his allotted 8 LODRS events, Stalba has only claimed points at 4 events.
Stalba (near lane) beat Jason in the finals of the Atco race
After the Atco race was competed, the Cecil County event cranked up and again, Troy Jr and Jason were on opposite sides of the ladder after the first round pairings but with nearly 70 Super Gas racers on hand, the chances of the two meeting in the finals were again, distant.
Jason over former D1 champ Matt Schurman set up the historic finals in Super Gas
But like the Atco race, as eliminations progressed, it was apparent that the chances of Jason and Troy Jr meeting in the final were becoming a distinct reality. In round 5 Troy beat the PC Richard and Son Camaro of Pat Dehner and received the bye in the semis putting the Ohio driver in the finals. On his side of the ladder, Jason defeated the Chevy II of John Richmond in R5 and then took out former NED champ Matt Schurman’s Beretta in his semifinal race setting up a Troy Jr. vs Jason final.
“TJ and I made a bet if we ran each other in the Atco final. So it was kind of cool when he came over before the Cecil final and made sure the bet carried over”, Jason said.
With the Cecil Super Gas title on the line, both drivers were ready after a long weekend and neither disappointed with a great final round. Troy and Jason had good reaction times with TJ’s 0.020 to Jason’s close 0.024 and got the win on a double breakout, 9.888 to 9.887. The difference at the stripe was 0.003 seconds which translates to 4 inches!
The finals at Cecil had Troy Jr out first by the slimmest of margins that made all the difference at the stripe as both racers broke out
It was a pretty good day,” Coughlin said. “We made some really good runs thanks to a very competitive race car. We were in the right place at the right time a lot today.” Troy continued, “Cecil County was a cool track. That was the first time I’ve ever been there, but it was a good track. I’m so thankful for this opportunity, and I have to give a big thanks to all the associates at JEGS for all their hard work and support”.
Troy Jr poses for his National Dragster head shot!
TJ also had this to say about his friendship with the Kenny family “Jason and the whole Kenny family are incredible people; they have always had my back and lent a helping hand. I can’t thank them enough for being so fun and nice and really taking me in as they have when on the road with them. You can count on “mom” or Carol to keep your stomach full and Al to check on me and the cars. Also its great feedback with Al and Jason on track things as far as racing goes they have a lot of experience and have great insight. Jason and I have a great friendship in fact at Atco before the rain we said if we meet in the final the winner gets some Miller Lite. So far I got the beer, but the season isn’t over yet so you will more than likely see some Miller Lite slid Jason’s way very soon”.
After the Cecil final round Jason said “As far as the TJ race was concerned, I thought I would be happy no matter who won … until his win light came on. I was grumpy for a few minutes, which is better than my usual couple hours. He must have sensed that, as he gave me an ice cold Miller Lite before I could even shake his hand.” Jason added,” He invited me, my family and even my Corvette into the winner’s circle, a very cool gesture on his part. Then before he left the track, he said “This was fun, let’s do it again at Indy. I’d be cool with that”.
The Cecil win puts Troy Jr. solidly in the #2 spot in the Division 3 Super Gas points chase going into the Bowling Green LODRS, but like Jason, Troy only has two races to claim in 2014 while the man leading the D3 Super Gas chase, Illinois racer Luke Bogacki, has three races left on his dance card.