LAS VEGAS (April 10) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. admits he’s not a big gambler, but he does know a thing or two about numbers, statistics, and probability. As the 23-event POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to Las Vegas, Coughlin thinks its time to pad his impressive record in the Pro Stock class and he believes his front-running Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevrolet Cobalt can carry him to the top of the betting form.

In just 193 NHRA national event starts in a Pro Stock car, the 36-year-old Coughlin has already won 34 races in 52 final-round appearances, the fifth-best record in history. A few quick clicks on a calculator deduces that Coughlin earns a trophy every 5.7 races on average, while reaching the final round at a stunning rate of every 3.7 events.

“We’ve had great successes over the years,” said Coughlin, who turned pro 10 years ago, “and what’s exciting is that to a large extent it feels like we’re just getting started.”

A big part of that sentiment could be attributed to the fact Coughlin recently joined Victor Cagnazzi’s operation. Last fall, in anticipation of running for this year’s title, Coughlin entered one of Cagnazzi’s hot rods in three races near the end of the schedule. When combined with the first four races of 2007, Coughlin has qualified in the top half of the field six times and has six elimination-round wins to his credit with the team, including a run to the semifinals from the No. 1 qualifying position at the last race in Houston.

“We’ve really come together as a team and I think that showed at the last race especially,” Coughlin said from his home in Delaware, Ohio. “To qualify No. 1 in this day and age is quite an accomplishment in itself and to go on to reach the semis and come within a fraction of a second of reaching the finals again is special. The only thing stopping us was the guy that went on to win the race and he’s the champ right now so we’re pretty pleased. The most you can ask for is a chance, and we definitely had that.

“The next thing to do is give Victor his first win out here. We’re so close but we also know there are no provisionals. Every race you start from zero and have to prove yourself all over again. We’re ready for that challenge.”

Coughlin has three wins at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, having won in consecutive years from 2000-2002.

“This is our eighth race with this team so it’s probably time, right?” Coughlin said. “Maybe our luck from the past at this racetrack will carry over. I certainly love this facility. Bruton Smith does things right and his tracks are first-rate.

“Vegas always has that special feeling around it because it’s such a vacation destination. People go there to have a good time and we love the fact they spend some of their time with us at the races. We’re ready for a big time.”

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