Gray Motorsports driver Connolly set for NHRA return at Winternationals

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A new season starts at Pomona.

POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2014) – Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly has been ever so patient for quite a while, and his fortitude will be rewarded this weekend when the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series kicks off at Auto Club Raceway Pomona. Connolly, a 23-time Pro Stock winner, will return to full-time racing this year behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Camaro and is aiming to start the season with a win for the Gray Motorsports team at the 54th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals.

Dave Connolly
Dave Connolly

Photo by: NHRA

The Elyria, Ohio-native's most recent full season of Pro Stock competition was in 2007, but he has seldom been away from the racetrack since then. For the past two years, Connolly was a co-crew chief on the Pro Stock car driven by Erica Enders-Stevens, and the hungry drag racer kept his competitive edge sharp by racing part time in the factory hot rod category – even beating Enders-Stevens in the Pro Stock final round at the prestigious U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis – and filling in the gaps with as much sportsman and bracket racing as possible.

In the period since his last full season as a driver in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock category, Connolly picked up national event wins in Super Gas and Top Dragster and became the first driver to race to victory in a Stock Eliminator COPO Camaro when he scored the hardware at a divisional event in NHRA's Lucas Oil sportsman series in Atlanta last May.

"I've been keeping busy, and I'll always love the sportsman categories, but I've definitely learned since 2007 that racing Pro Stock is something you don't take for granted," said Connolly, a resident of Mooresville, N.C. "I'm grateful to be the driver of the Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro this year, and I'm going to take advantage of each and every run we get. This is a fresh team and a fresh start, and so far everything has gone really well at the shop and in every test session we've had. I think it's only going to get better from here."

Connolly joins teammate Shane Gray to round out the Gray Motorsports driving crew, with co-crew chiefs Tommy Utt and Justin Elkes making the calls as a tuning duo on the Chevrolet Camaros. Together, the Gray Motorsports team has participated in multiple test sessions over the course of a seemingly short winter, and they are ready to arrive in Pomona for the highly anticipated Winternationals with guns blazing. For Connolly, the return to the venerable Southern California racetrack will provide the opportunity to repeat a victory earned there in 2005.

"There are a lot of possibilities for this team, and everybody is really excited," said Connolly. "There is plenty of talent in this camp, but we still have to execute. We're just going to go out there and try our best, give 100%, and see how the cards fall."

Gray Motorsports

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Tags dave connolly, gray motorsports, nhra, pomona, winternationals