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Kalitta Adds Coughlin

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 14 2016

nhra logoBy John Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

ENNIS, Texas _ Kalitta Motorsports will expand to a sixth nitro entry for the first time in its 57-year history in 2017, when the organization founded and owned by drag racing legend Connie Kalitta will field a third Top Fuel dragster driven by Troy Coughlin Jr.

Announced Friday during the 31st annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the collaboration will align the sport’s Kalitta and Coughlin families for the first time.

“I am very excited to be competing in the Top Fuel class with Kalitta Motorsports,” Coughlin said in a statement. “Kalitta Motorsports has a lot of history and legacy in NHRA similar to my family. The first time I came to Team Kalitta I noticed the family-type atmosphere and the extreme desire to win and I knew this was the team I wanted to be involved with. I am studying hard and plan to hit the ground running and have a strong start to the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season.”

Coughlin is the current point-leader in Division 3’s Super Comp division. He previously won the 2013 Super Gas title in Division 3 and is a two-time NHRA U.S. Nationals winner. Last season, he drove in the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod series and was named Rookie of the Year. During his career, the 26-year-old has competed in Junior Dragsters, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Dragster and Pro Mod machines. Earlier this year, Coughlin earned his Top Fuel license. 

Coughlin currently is scheduled to compete in a limited 2017 schedule that may be expanded with additional funding. Troy Jr.’s schedule, sponsorship and crew chief will be announced at a later date. 

Troy Jr. comes from a drag racing family with a history of NHRA success. He will be the first Coughlin to compete in the Top Fuel ranks since his grandfather, Jeg Coughlin Sr., won races in the late 1970s and ’80s. His father, Troy Coughlin Sr., is the reigning NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Champion, while his uncles _ John Coughlin, Mike Coughlin and Jeg Coughlin Jr. _ all are multi-time champions. John and Mike earned multiple Division 3 titles, while Jeg Jr. is a five-time Pro Stock world champion and current Countdown to the Championship qualifier. In total, the Coughlin family owns 111 NHRA national event wins. 

Troy Jr. is expected to be a contender for the 2017 AAA Road to the Future Rookie of the Year trophy, an award Jeg Jr. claimed in 1998. Three of Troy Jr.’s new teammates _ reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham (1991), Doug Kalitta (1998) and J.R. Todd (2006), also have earned ROY honors.

“Kalitta Motorsports is thrilled to have Troy Jr. join our team,” said Jim Oberhofer, vice president of operations, Kalitta Motorsports. “He has a ton of talent and a passion for racing. The Coughlin and Kalitta names have a long track record of success in NHRA drag racing and we know Troy Jr. is just going to help continue that tradition of success for both families for years to come.”

Founded in 1959, Kalitta Motorsports is the only multi-car nitro organization to qualify every team in the Countdown to the Championship for the past three seasons. Troy Jr. will have an experienced set of teammates to lean on as he goes through his rookie season. Current Team Kalitta drivers Kalitta, Todd, Worsham, Alexis DeJoria and Paul Lee have compiled nearly 100 combined victories and over 1,000 round-wins.

 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 14 2016
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