LAS VEGAS (April 13) — It’s not often when four-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. arrives at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that he doesn’t leave a winner.

Coughlin, driver of the Chevy Cobalt in Pro Stock, is the defending champion of this weekend’s event, which will be run from April 16-18. Last year was the fifth time in his career Coughlin won at Las Vegas. He’s raced to the Vegas money round seven times in all.

“It’s a Bruton Smith track so you are always fired up when you pull through the gates,” Coughlin said. “It’s a first-class facility, second-to-none, and I love the place.

“Las Vegas needs very little introduction to the world. That’s one of the neat things about this race; we have people from all over the world coming to this race.”

On the cusp of his 50th professional-level victory after recording No. 49 Sunday in Houston, the 39-year-old Coughlin said the gang from Victor Cagnazzi Racing is really feeling good after running so strong at Houston Raceway Park.

“The momentum we’ve got coming out of Texas certainly rejuvenates us,” Coughlin said. “We needed a shot in the arm. The season didn’t start as strong as we had hoped, but it’s still very early in the year and we’ve got plenty of time to make hay.”

Coughlin said the team recently re-examined how they did things on race weekend and made some changes that have paid real dividends.

“It’s the same car and engine we’ve been using the last few races,” he said. “It’s the same combination and the same people, we’re just doing things a little differently.

“I have to credit my father, Jeg Sr., for working with (crew chief) Roy Simmons and (team owner) Victor Cagnazzi on some different setups. We had top speed at Houston, running a career best 212.33 mph. Man, let me tell you, it was singing.”

Coughlin will be trying to bring home two trophies from Las Vegas. In order to prepare for the K&N Spring Fling 20’s presented by Sparco at Bristol Dragway on April 22-25, Coughlin also will compete in the Super Comp dragster this weekend to get into a good Sportsman-type rhythm.

“It’s a big bracket race that Peter Biondo and Kyle Siepel are putting on and JEGS Mail Order is sponsoring two days of it,” Coughlin said. “I want to make sure I’m sharp in the car because I know my buddies who are going to be racing over there aren’t going take it easy on me. From the looks of it, every big hitter in the Sportsman classes will be there. It should be fun.

“First things first; we have a race to win in Las Vegas. That’s where my mind is right now.”

Qualifying at Las Vegas gets under way at 12:30 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 16.


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