Dave Connolly Gets Solo Run to Fourth Straight Series Win in Fall Nationals He won the O'Reilly Fall Nationals on a solo quarter-mile pass of 8.553 seconds at 112.17 mph when Greg Anderson, his primary rival right now for the NHRA POWERade ...
Dave Connolly Gets Solo Run to Fourth Straight Series Win in Fall Nationals
He won the O'Reilly Fall Nationals on a solo quarter-mile pass of 8.553 seconds at 112.17 mph when Greg Anderson, his primary rival right now for the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock championship, had transmission problems that sidelined him at the starting line.
It was the talented 24-year-old Pro Stock driver's fourth straight victory in an impressive performance that boosted him 52 points ahead of Anderson going into the fourth and final Countdown to Four event at Richmond, Va., Oct. 5-7.
Sixteen straight round wins in the tightly-contested Pro Stock field "is all due to the team that Victor Cagnazzi has put together," said Connolly, driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt. "The guys are just all over it now. When things are going your way they are going your way. Luck is definitely on our side. We are going to ride this roller coaster as long as we can because this is a very humbling sport. You never know when things are going to change."
Numbers-wise, this was Connolly's seventh win this year -- a career best -- and he now has 16 overall victories. His series point total is 2,408 to Anderson's 2,356.
Starting from the No. 2 qualifying position behind Anderson, Connolly methodically eliminated Craig Hankinson (6.676 seconds at 206.51 mph to 6.933 at 170.75), Max Naylor (6.683 at 206.23 to 6.710 at 204.94) and Jason Line (6.708 at 206.10 to 6.761 at 206.20) before the final round that never was.
"It wasn't the way we wanted to win it," said Connolly. "We were ready to do battle with him for the third race in a row but he had some problems. Either way, the whole team did an excellent job of getting us through the first three rounds. They did their part because we were low (elapsed time) for the first two rounds. Even in the semifinals against Jason (Line) we outran him.
"The driver was just off his game today. I didn't leave on anybody all day long. This streak is definitely owed to (crew chief) Tommy Utt and the good team we have. They got me up there (for the finals) with no leaks and everything stayed on our car."
Connolly will attempt to sweep all four races in the Countdown to Four at Richmond, but no matter what his advantage is now, everything changes after that race. Points are reset with the top driver only 10 points ahead of second place and so on through the top four drivers. The Countdown to One -- two races at Las Vegas (Oct. 28) and Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 4) -- decide the titleholder.
"This year altogether has been remarkable," Connolly concluded. "I've never won back-to-back races before, much less four in a row, and seven is an all-time high for me. We'd like this to continue . . ."