LAS VEGAS (March 17) — Three-time NHRA champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will be the star attraction of Mopars at the Strip, March 24-25, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Coughlin will be driving Michael Ogburn’s famous West Coast Hemis ’68 Plymouth Barracuda in the event, which is being billed as the richest all-Chrysler Drag Race in the West.

Coughlin plans on testing his ride Thursday before competing in the MCG/Painter Dodge Fastest Super Stock Shootout during Friday’s qualifying sessions for the main event — a 12-car Hemi Super Stock Shootout to be held Saturday night.

“All the big shooters will be there so I’d better be ready,” said Coughlin, who last competed at the NHRA Finals in November where he drove the JEG’S Mail Order Dodge Stratus to his 46th career victory. “We’re going to race my dragster here in Ohio this weekend to get my mind back on racing. Then we’ll test Michael’s car the Thursday before the Hemi Shootout so I can get reacquainted with the car.”

In his first outing with this particular car in 2004, Coughlin drove Ogburn’s national-record-setting Barracuda to a huge victory at the Mac Tools U.S. National in Indianapolis, the sport’s longest running and most prestigious event.

“I’ve never tested this car before the events I’ve run with it,” Coughlin said. “I’ve always just jumped right into it to race because I didn’t have the time in my schedule to make test runs. Now that I’m taking a break from Pro Stock, I have the time to work with crew chief Harry Holton and get in sync with the rhythm of this hot rod.”

Mopars at the Strip has an overall purse of $35,000 with racing action taking place in several different categories. Coughlin stands to win $10,000 with a victory in the Hemi Super Stock Shootout and another $1,000 if he has the quickest E.T. of the weekend.

“My teammate Jerry Jenkins is the defending champion and Rick Houser, who was in the finals in Indy against me, was runner-up last year so right there you have two big hitters,” Coughlin said. “We’re coming off a high with our big Dodge win in Pomona but that was five months ago. Now we’re jumping right into an event that could have the toughest group of racers we’ve ever seen in an event like this. It’s exciting and it’s definitely gotten my attention. I’m not taking anything for granted.

“We’re happy to be racing The Strip. Certainly it’s one of the premier facilities in the country and the weather in mid-March should be conducive to great elapsed times and speeds. The fans will get their money’s worth at this event, I can assure you of that.”

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