Tasca and Troy Coughlin Jr. say electric vehicles could bring a new level of excitement to NHRA
- The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series is committing to an EV class in its Summit ET series for 2022.
- While racer Troy Coughlin Jr. enjoys the engines and sounds of the NHRA drag track today, he concedes the new class would attract new fans and racers to the series.
- Funny Car driver, Ford driver Bob Tasca III says he expects Ford to be present in the new class.
With a new class of electric vehicles in the Summit ET series, a base-level program at the support level, set to debut next year in the NHRA, Pro Stock driver Troy Coughlin Jr. and Funny Car racer Bob Tasca III keep an eye on it.
Both have personal reasons for doing so. Tasca launched the electric Ford Mustang Cobra Jet at the U.S. Championships last September, and Coughlin’s grandfather, Jeg Coughlin Sr., designed a set of electric motors for Jr. Dragsters through his company JEGS High Performance in 2017, a setup that can transfer to other classes as the runner ages and progresses in the sport.
Troy Coughlin Jr. said of the JEGS kit, “So it’s basically the best deal for the cost. I think that was the main point of Pappy (her grandfather): “Hey, let’s get people into drag racing.” Look at the cost. Yes, it might be a bit more at first, but over time you save money because you only have one package. It is all life. You just build a big car and you make a seat that’s small and you keep making seats that fit the kid and the car. The cool thing is you can buy a car and an engine for the life of that kid’s career from five to 17 or 18, when he’s done (with the Jr. Dragster class). So the cost is higher initially, but overall it is lower. “
At the end of the day, he said, “You still have to dial it and then you still have to cross the finish line and you still have to hit the tree. So it’s almost like another power amplifier. It’s just another outlet for drag racing.
The Coughlins are well known in bracket racing circles. Would this promising Coughlin take part in the Summit ET series?
“If this comes my way and Pappy wants to try it.” I’m sure one of us will try it. I mean, there are 12 grandchildren, so there are many of us. I’m sure one of us would try it. It’s pretty cool. It’s great to see the technology get to where it is and all the manufacturers putting their two cents in electronics, ”said Troy Coughlin Jr.“ It’s exciting to see something new, but my heart is with the engines. But hey, something new in drag racing is something to watch, something to see. This is history. Everything goes in cycles, creates attention and awareness. This is what we want. We will always have engines and we will always have gasoline and we will always make noise.
He said with the electric racing cars, “You might not be able to hear it, but you will be able to see it. In fact, electric cars make a sound, but not a single drag racer is used to hearing. “It’s a different ground,” Coughlin said. “Pro Stock cars have a cooler pitch in my opinion. It’s just my opinion. But electric cars are different. And that kind of technology inspires others. Really there are a lot of cars on the local scene. There are a lot of them in the west. There are some on the east coast. You would be shocked. We want to get everyone out here.
“These things have a lot of power, a lot of torque, I can tell you that. It’s nice. The things Pappy told me about the Jr. Dragsters, what they can do, the adjustment with volts and watts and what adjustments you have. It’s impressive, ”he said. “It’s really neat once you figure it out: how it works and how you make it work and how it fits in the classroom. It’s really neat, because at first you don’t really understand how it would fit in. setting it up with volts and watts to make the car run and fit into the classroom, that’s pretty neat.
Troy Coughlin Jr. said, “In every way we can innovate. I’m a fan of what’s new in drag racing because it attracts attention. This is what we need.
Tasca said he “was delighted that the NHRA announced this (the new EV class). I don’t know the details at this point. I haven’t spoken to Ford since the news came out, so I’d rather not to comment, but I know Ford is fully committed to the electric series at NHRA, until I know more, I don’t even really want to comment on what Ford thinks and what the series thinks yet. I’m just excited they are doing it. I would love to be a part of it somehow. I don’t know what the requirements will be like how many races and where they will be. I don’t know if that will be. will work with my schedule, but we’ll definitely take a look.
“I know one thing: it’s exciting to have a class that will be really state-of-the-art. Certainly, however, OEs are going to have to play a big role in this, as much of the technology is still being developed. But you saw what the Cobra Jet did over there in Indy when I drove it. . . It’s an absolute pleasure to drive, incredibly fast. And I think that’s the next step and trying to formalize a series and let OEs really showcase their latest technology and electrification. And I’m sure Ford will be at the forefront. I’m sure like everything else it’s a competitive nature and as one starts to do it the others will follow. But I do know that Ford is definitely at the forefront.
Few companies make electric vehicles, right?
“Well, yes and no,” Tasca said. “Engine technology, battery technology, that’s what all the manufacturers are doing now. So just put in bigger electric motors and bigger batteries. The concept is exactly what they are doing on the street. It’s like we do in a race, we just make it go faster and have to make it stronger and push it to the limit. It is therefore definitely within the reach of any OEM who wishes to participate. “I’m sure there is interest at the OT (Operational Technology) level. And I think what Ford has done with the electric Cobra Jet is a great kind of “Here’s what’s possible”. But hey, we’ll see what the NHRA comes up with.
Tasca said he thinks the NHRA “falls short” of any idea of equating it, for example, with the Factory Stock Showdown class.
“Ah, I don’t know. I do not know. I think we are far away. I think if they asked me for my opinion, which they didn’t, I’d like to see the Cobra Jet evolve into a Pro Stock style chassis where we could lighten the weight. Probably make it a bit safer, with a full cage, like in a Pro Stock car. And then I think you would see them run the 7s (range of seven seconds) quite easily, ”he said. “So again, I don’t know what they are thinking, but I can tell you that it wouldn’t take much to get these cars to run in the seven, if you could put them on a style chassis. Pro Stock. So we’ll see. Can’t wait to see what they come up with. And anyway, I’m sure Ford is going to take a pretty aggressive stance.
“Glad to hear what it’s gonna be and who knows?” If it can work in my schedule, you might see me driving one, ”Tasca said.
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