RICHMOND, Va. (Oct. 2) — It’s been six years since Jeg Coughlin Jr. won the Pro Stock trophy at the last NHRA event contested at Virginia Motorsports Park, but the three-time series champion says it seems like only yesterday he blasted down the First State’s premier drag strip. There’s probably a good reason for that, Coughlin admitted.

Gearing up for his much-anticipated return to the sport’s toughest professional category, Coughlin, who last raced Pro Stock in November when he won the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., recently spent two days at VMP preparing his new Slammers Ultimate Milk/ Chevrolet Cobalt for competition. While there, the 47-time national event winner posted the best quarter-mile pass of his illustrious career, lifting his confidence.

“I’ll admit, there were some questions in my mind about how I’d feel in there,” said Coughlin, who has stayed sharp this past year racing in numerous high-dollar bracket races. “I’ve made lots of runs in the past year, probably more than two years worth of Pro Stock racing, but this Cobalt is unlike any other vehicle. It felt good just to get in there and re-acclimate myself with making a run down the racetrack.

“The fact we went a 6.642 at 207.79 mph, easily my best pass ever, only made us feel that much better about what we’re doing. Victor (Cagnazzi, team owner) and this group are ready to contend for the championship in 2007 and it all starts right now. The true test of our performance will be at the race itself, but when you match up what we did against the others that were testing there we’re very pleased to say the least.”

Testing for Coughlin and teammate Tommy Lee will continue prior to the Torco Race Fuels Nationals this Wednesday when Cagnazzi Racing makes a quick stop in Rockingham, N.C. to iron out any lingering issues they might discover with Coughlin’s new car.

“This will give me a chance to make a few more passes and get ready for the race,” Coughlin said. “Victor, Tommy Utt, and Roy Simmons have all had a big hand in helping get our tune-up squared away. These last few races of the season are a testing period for this team. The crew has gelled very quickly and we’re excited about what the future holds.

“The last time we were in Richmond, I left town with the Wally. That was a pretty good memory to have. I’d like to make some more positive memories this weekend.”

Qualifying highlights of the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals will air from 10 p.m.-12 a.m. ET, Saturday, Oct. 7, on ESPN2. The eliminations rounds will be broadcast from 7-10 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 8, also on ESPN2.

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