In a season where we have seen just about everything possible, we have finally crowned a class champion. It took until the last day of the season, but here it is. Troy Coughlin in the Jegs.com Vette locks up the Championship.
Throughout the 2017 NHRA Pro Mod season we really did see just about everything possible. From record runs, to record bumps, to media presence, Pro Mod was really one of the most, if not arguably the most exciting classes in all of drag racing.
Coming into the 2017 season, a lot of the talk was that the small tire and grudge racing superstar Steve Jackson was going to be taking on the big show in his Bahrain1 blower Camaro. He certainly lived up to the "hype" this season, when in his first ever event he went out and qualified #1. It was Steven Whiteley would took the win though.
Just like every season, there are arguments and discussions over the rules and who has advantages. Everyone wanted to cry that the blower cars got too much O/D at the beginning of the season, when they came in at 20% and finally had to be bumped down to 16.5%. It didn't take long for the rules makers to back the turbo combos down as well. The turbos were backed down from 38lbs to 36lbs. in an attempt to level the playing field.
Of course, the combo that felt left out was the nitrous combo. Former multiple time World Champion, Rickie Smith was out for multiple races early in the season due to back surgery. His teammate Khalid alBalooshi was going to have to be the flag bearer for the nitrous combos, along with Jonathan Gray, who took over driving duties for Rickie while he was laid up. We also saw Shannon Jenkins, Bob Rahaim, Billy Glidden, along with Billy Harper all lining up with the laughing gas hooked up.
Most of the season it was the AAP blown Camaro of Mike Castellana that was the points leader and the dominating force. With blower icon Frank Manzo making the tuning calls, and former TAFC driver Cassie Simonton handling crew work, they were the team to beat all season. By the time we rolled into Indy for the Nationals, there were rumblings that the chase was over and no one was going to be able to overcome Mike's point lead. Apparently Troy didn't get that message.
Troy Coughlin, who himself is a multi-time Pro Mod World Champ in the Jegs.com, Proline powered Vette ignored the memo about Mike's point lead. Troy has what some in the drag racing world would call an all star team around him, whether it's Steve Petty, Mike Rees, or any other person on that team, their goal is to win every time. By the time we left the St. Louis race Troy had a touch over a full round lead on Mike.
So, rolling into Las Vegas there was technically a two round lead by the Coughlin team over the Castellana team. And wouldn't you know it, by the time we got to Sunday, everything that happened the entire season was going to come down to E2. Mike had to face Troy in E2 and he would have to beat Troy and then also win in the Semi Finals. That would be the scenario for Mike to bring home the Championship. All Troy would have to do is beat one of the most dominate competitors this season.
Some other highlights from the 2017 season include:
Eric Latino resetting the world record at Gainesville
Mike Castellana Resets World Record
Almost ever field was the quickest field in the class' history
After six (6) years, the MPH record finally fell
Three drivers won multiple races (Troy, Mike, and Stevie Fast)
All three combos won multiple races
Bowman resets MPH record in Vegas and doesn't qualify for the race
Six First time winners
First time Pro Mod included Topeka on their schedule
Turbo Pro Mods tickle with 260 mph
Stevie Jackson breaks the internet and silences his haters
Troy overcomes second half points deficit to wrap up the Championship