Brainerd: Dave Connolly preview

Now Connolly Focusing on Moving up in Points As NHRA Countdown to 10 Winds Down Yes, Dave Connolly is an official member of NHRA's Countdown to 10 Pro Stock top 10 with three more POWERade Series events remaining before the beginning of the ...

Now Connolly Focusing on Moving up in Points As NHRA Countdown to 10 Winds Down

Yes, Dave Connolly is an official member of NHRA's Countdown to 10 Pro Stock top 10 with three more POWERade Series events remaining before the beginning of the Countdown to 1.

After claiming 10th place with a July 27 victory at Sonoma, Calif., Connolly now must defend his position, beginning this weekend with the Lucas Oil Nationals at Brainerd, Minn., and ensuing visits to Reading, Pa.(Aug. 15-17), and Indianapolis (Aug.29-Sept. 1).

Connolly's second win in his first 10 2008 starts propelled him from 11th to 10th and provided a 52-point cushion (682-630) over Warren Johnson.

"That doesn't lock us in the top 10, so we still have our work cut out for us," said Connolly. "A lot depends on how well we do at the next three races. I would rather be the one being chased than having to catch up."

He and the Cagnazzi Racing Charter Communications/LifeLock Chevy Cobalt team know a lot about catching up. Starting five races behind everyone else, Connolly charged up the ladder in 10 outings. His first victory came at Bristol, Tenn., and he has advanced to four finals.

"We've had a lot of success at Brainerd," said Connolly, who won his first Pro Stock title there in 2004 and won again in 2006. "I'm glad that is one of the stops in our last three races (before the beginning of the six-race title series). We've always run good there and have had a lot of luck there.

"We'd like to get another good weekend under our belt and hopefully make another final. That would give us a little more breathing room. It would be awesome for us if we could put the car in the Brainerd winner's circle again."

The team hasn't lost its focus, either. Now they've made the top 10, they want more.

"We are in the top 10, but that's definitely not where we want to stop," Connolly noted. "Looking at the points, if we could really do well, we could possibly move up to seventh. That's a lot of work, but we are trying to go as many rounds as we can to stay in the top 10. If we move up, that's great. We just want to go into the final (playoff) stage as high in points as we can get."

Teammate Ron Krisher is ninth (728). Ahead of him are Greg Stanfield (8, 729), V Gaines (7, 779) and Mike Edwards (6, 782).

"We are making good runs again," Connolly said. "We were No. 1 qualifier at Seattle and had a great race car until we had mechanical problems. We had another good car at Sonoma.

"As far as the driver's confidence with what the car is doing, it's back to what we had last year (when he won five consecutive races -- Reading, Indianapolis, Memphis, Dallas and Richmond, Va.), but it still takes good runs and a lot of luck on Sunday because everybody is running good this year. It's not just another team or two, but it's six or seven cars -- if not more -- that are running well.

"It puts the driver under a little more pressure and makes him perform well if he's going to win. In the two wins I've had this year, it took two holeshots to win the races. This is probably the closest racing we've had in Pro Stock since I started my career."

-credit: vcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Krisher , Greg Stanfield , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards