Commerce: Dave Connolly final summary

Dave Connolly Surprise Pro Stock Winner at Southern Nationals A team in transition a week ago became a team of destiny Sunday night when Dave Connolly drove to a most improbable NHRA Pro Stock victory at the Summit Racing Equipment Southern...

Dave Connolly Surprise Pro Stock Winner at Southern Nationals

A team in transition a week ago became a team  of destiny Sunday night when
Dave Connolly drove to a most improbable NHRA Pro  Stock victory at the Summit
Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta  Dragway.

How improbable?

Connolly's SKULL GEAR  Chevrolet Cobalt team did not qualify last week at
Bristol, Tenn., and this was  Tommy Utt's first race as crew chief.  Connolly
qualified 14th, yet still  marched to the sixth victory of his career in 15
finals, using a major dose of  driving talent and a race car good enough to get to
the finish line  first.
In the money round, however, good fortune smiled on  Connolly.  Greg
Stanfield, the No. 16 qualifier, left the starting line  first with a quick .014 of a
second reaction to Connolly's  .038.
"About then I was thinking 'how could I have messed this  up?'" he said.
About the same time, Stanfield's car moved around the lane and  Connolly drove
by, clinching his first win since April 2005 at Las Vegas.   He won with a
6.695-second, 205.69-mph run to Stanfield's 7.531 at  127.34.
The win came just a few days after team owner Evan Knoll's  birthday.  "
Winning on Evan's birthday weekend means a lot to me," Connolly  continued.  "
That man has done so much for me it's the least I could  do.

"We had an awesome weekend. The team saved my hide a lot today. I was late (off the starting line) in the final and Greg was good but we were able to drive around him. The team effect came into play. We relied on the car to save the driver and the driver to save the car. That's when you start winning races."

Give Connolly credit for his first-round triumph over No. 3 qualifier Jason Line. Connolly's .008 reaction (.000 is perfect) helped his 6.702-second run defeated Line's 6.690.

"He got  me the first round and I got him the second one," said Utt, who had
been tuning  the engine before taking over as crew chief.
Connolly's other round  wins came over Allen Johnson in the second round
(6.716 to 6.766) and Larry  Morgan in the semifinals (6.696 to 6.705).
The sudden success  lifted Connolly into ninth place in POWERade Series
points with 338.   Parity in Pro Stock is at an all-time high. He is the seventh
different driver  to win in seven races.
Oddly enough, this was the team's second  final in three races.  Connolly was
second at Las Vegas last  month.
He'll be going to two wins in a row when the team returns to  competition in
the Pontiac Performance Nationals, May 19-21, at Columbus,  Ohio.

-dcr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Allen Johnson , Dave Connolly