Englishtown: Dave Connolly preview

Going Straight, Collecting Points Connolly's Primary Mission at E-Town The math is simple. Dave Connolly currently trails 10th place Warren Johnson by 130 points as they challenge for the final Pro Stock position in the coveted Countdown to...

Going Straight, Collecting Points
Connolly's Primary Mission at E-Town
The math is simple.

Dave Connolly currently trails 10th place Warren Johnson by 130 points as they challenge for the final Pro Stock position in the coveted Countdown to One six-race championship playoff. Eight races remain in the regular season. And they aren't the only ones with designs on a top 10 finish.

Connolly has been impressive since his personal 19-race NHRA POWERade Series campaign began five races behind the other contenders. He signaled his return with a runner-up finish in his second race and a victory at Bristol, Tenn., in the third event. The victory pushed him all the way up to 12th, where he remains after disappointing outings in recent back-to-back races at Topeka, Kan., and Joliet, Ill.

With another pair of back-to-back stops on the docket -- the Lucas Oil Nationals at Englishtown, N.J., June 20-22, and the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, June 27-29 -- the Charter Communications/LifeLock Chevy Cobalt team cannot afford many more early outs on race day.

The Cobalt was acting like a petulant child refusing to listen to his father. Tommy Utt, a.k.a. the father in this report, says simply the car does not respond to what it's told to do. Utt is the veteran crew chief in charge of Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing entry.

"The car has given us problems at the last two races," said Connolly, who never made it down the track in the first round at Topeka or Joliet. "It's something we have to fix."

Utt, meanwhile, spent last week analyzing data and attacking the trouble spots.

"It's just the new car blues," he noted. "We got the car to the (Mooresville, N.C.) shop and have been working on it. It is a new car and all cars have different personalities. We are trying to make it more forgiving. When we get it on tracks that are hot or greasy it isn't responding the way our old car did. We have some new parts coming and we are going to test Monday and Tuesday. You never know.

"We run these things so close to the edge. We know things aren't right (with the new car), but it's not a problem we can't fix."

Fixing it, obviously, is vital to Connolly's successful climb into contention.

-credit: vcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Dave Connolly