LAS VEGAS (Oct. 22) — Any lingering questions three-time series champion Jeg Coughlin might have had about his ability to drive a Pro Stock car after 11 months off were erased in 6.604 seconds when Coughlin drove to the career-best number at the POWERade tour’s last stop in Richmond, Va. Now, as the 23-race series goes cross country to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the ACDelco Nationals, Coughlin is ready for even bigger things.

“We want to win the race,” said Coughlin, a 47-time national event winner. “We may only have one race under our belts in this new Slammers Ultimate Milk/ Chevrolet Cobalt but we showed so much potential I firmly believe we’re capable of winning Las Vegas.”

After winning the 2005 season-ending Auto Club Finals in Pomona last November as a member of Don Schumacher Racing, Coughlin decided to step back from Pro Stock until a more agreeable situation presented itself. He found that with Victor Cagnazzi’s race team, which now fields two cars for Slammers (the other driven by Tommy Lee), and provides motors to championship contender Dave Connolly.

“Victor and I have been friends for years and we started talking about doing something awhile back,” Coughlin said. “Basically, we played it smart and waited until a deal came along that made sense for all of us. We have that with Slammers Ultimate Milk and Bravo! Foods International.

“At the same time we wanted to make sure the engine department and the crew was ready for the expansion. Judging on how we ran in Virginia I’d say we’re good to go.”

Coughlin, Lee, and Connolly all recorded career-best numbers in Richmond. Now the trio will try to conquer The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coughlin has three victories at the facility, including the first race ever held there in 2000. He also won in Las Vegas in 2001 and 2002.

“I’d like for us to make an impact before the end of the season,” said Coughlin, the Pro Stock world champ in ’00 and ’02. “I’ll admit to feeling a little nervous when we headed up to the line for the first round of qualifying in Virginia but as soon as I let the clutch out and felt that power under me, I knew it would be okay.”

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