Englishtown: Dave Connolly preview

Consistent Effort Drives Connolly in NHRA Pro Stock Competition If everything goes according to a four-race pattern of consistency begun when Tommy Utt became crew chief of the Dave Connolly-driven SKULL GEAR Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt team, win No....

Consistent Effort Drives Connolly in NHRA Pro Stock Competition

If everything goes according to a four-race pattern of consistency begun when Tommy Utt became crew chief of the Dave Connolly-driven SKULL GEAR Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt team, win No. 3 this season should come Sunday in the K&N Filters SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.

Connolly won the first and third races after Utt took charge and he's been a quarterfinalist in the other two, including Sunday's loss to eventual race winner Kurt Johnson in Joliet, Ill.

Be advised, however, that nothing has been the least bit predictable in this NHRA POWERade Series battle for supremacy among the Factory Hot Rods. There have been eight different winners in the first 10 races. Only Connolly and Kurt Johnson have won twice. Three-time defending series titleholder Greg Anderson has only one victory, but he's been second three times and has a 110-point cushion over second place.

Connolly, meanwhile, is fifth with 564 points and in the midst of a six-driver cluster that is separated by a mere 82 points. He's one point behind Johnson and 52 out of second place.

"We've had an awesome racecar recently and we should be in good shape (to contend) for the last half of the season," Connolly said. "Every week someone else is running good out here. Fortunately, we've been in that group that has continued to run good in the last few races. We haven't fallen off or anything like that. I like the direction the team is going right now."

Connolly, of Elyria, Ohio, believes the upcoming busy schedule will play a role in defining the contenders from the remainder of the field. "We have two races in a row (at Raceway Park, June 16-18, and the St. Louis area, June 23-25) and a couple of weeks off before we go on the three-race Western Swing," he commented, "and that should separate a some of the guys."

This will be Connolly's third race at Raceway Park, where he has yet to win a round. All that should change during Sunday's eliminations. He had four round wins in the first six races and he's won 10 rounds in the last four starts. That's the kind of consistency that boosts a driver up the point standings and into the winner's circle.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , Dave Connolly