NORWALK, Ohio (June 23) — It’s homecoming week for reigning Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and the pride of the Buckeye State is hoping to ride a wave of local support to his second victory of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Coughlin attended Ashland University before joining the family business, JEGS High Performance, in Delaware, Ohio. Throughout his college years, the youngest of four sons of noted Top Fuel racer Jeg Coughlin Sr. was honing his drag racing skills, routinely powering down racetracks across Ohio, including Norwalk Raceway Park, the site of this weekend’s national event.

“It’s great to be home and racing in Ohio once again,” said Coughlin, a four-time world champion with 52 national event victories. “We’re expecting lots of family and friends up for the race because it’s probably only an hour or so from home, so it’s sure to be a fun weekend all the way around. I can’t wait to get there, to be honest.”

Coughlin is currently third in the POWERade standings. He knows a strong outing in Norwalk can return him to the No. 1 spot, a position he held after the Gainesville and Las Vegas races.

“We need to be totally prepared right out of the trailer and really put up some solid numbers on Friday,” Coughlin said. “I need to be completely focused from the start and capitalize on that Friday night session when it’s usually the best conditions. It can be the difference between racing from the top or bottom half of the elimination field.”

Aside from the race itself, Coughlin will be competing in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a special race-within-a-race for the top eight qualifiers from the last 12 months. Coughlin qualified in the No. 5 spot for the prestigious event, increasing his number of career starts to seven. He won the race outright in 1999 and 2000.

“We race the K&N Horsepower Challenge on Saturday so we have to be in race mode a day early at this event,” Coughlin said. “Personally, I like that a lot better because it keeps you focused. There can be a lot of distractions at these events, especially at home, but when you’re racing you get into a different mindset. This will be a lot like a sportsman event when you’re flat-out racing all day long.

“We’ve got seven races left before the Countdown to the Championship begins. We’re in a great position and we need to stay there. As we saw last year, every point and every round means so much. We have to be ready to take advantage of every opportunity.”

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