Joliet: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly Goes Testing to Fix Problems, Prepare for Run at Route 66 Nationals Win The mood was somber and mixed with looks of disgust. The immediate goal was to determine why Dave Connolly's Charter Communications/LifeLock Pro Stock Chevy ...

Connolly Goes Testing to Fix Problems, Prepare for Run at Route 66 Nationals Win

The mood  was somber and mixed with looks of disgust.  The immediate goal was
to  determine why Dave Connolly's Charter Communications/LifeLock Pro Stock
Chevy  Cobalt made a hard right at the starting line in Sunday's quarterfinal
round of  the Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kan.
And oh, by the way, there's  not much time to work on it because the next
race begins Friday -- the Route 66  Nationals in Joliet, Ill.
Good performances are a necessity for  Connolly. He needs all the points he
can muster in the nine remaining NHRA  Countdown to 10 races to secure a berth
in the Countdown to One.   Sponsorship issues kept him a spectator for the
first five races until Charter  Communications and LifeLock partnered with
Cagnazzi Racing four races  ago.
"We weren't happy with the way we performed on Sunday, so  rather than
complain about it, we took a 12-hour drive to Martin, Mich., to do  something about
it and test," Connolly said on Tuesday.  "That's how our  team is. They're
never afraid to work and they'll do whatever it takes.   Nobody complained . .
. it's something we need to do and we did  it."

The decision, judging from early results, was a positive one.

"We basically had the car torn apart from front bumper to back  bumper,
measuring and trying to square up the back end a little bit to get this  car to go
straight on every run," added Connolly.  "Obviously, even though  we were
getting off the line a little sideways last weekend, we still managed to  take
the No. 1 qualifying spot.  If we get this car to start making better  runs, we
know we have the resources to run with the top  cars."
Connolly, nevertheless, gained two more places in points  Sunday, moving into
12th with 302. He is 86 points behind 10th place Warren  Johnson's 388.
"We didn't have the first five races (to work with a  new car), so we haven'
t been playing with the car as much as everyone else has,"  continued
Connolly, an Elyria, Ohio native.  "Not only did we get caught  behind the 8-ball by
missing those races and are playing catch-up, we don't have  the same car as
last year -- Ron Krisher (his Cagnazzi Racing teammate)  does.
"We're still working with the new car, too.   Tommy Utt (team crew chief)
has done an excellent job with the car because we've  already been to two finals
and picked up one win. I don't want people to thing  I'm complaining about
what we've done so far.  We were No. 1 qualifier last  week and we just made a
bad choice of lanes, but we still had a car that could  go out and compete. It
just doesn't take much for something to cause a problem  on these cars.

"When we do have problems, I know Tommy and the crew will get it figured out. Hopefully we'll do that in the next day or two at Martin. We've already made our best run and we think we are back where we need to be. We're trying to get the car just a little bit better."

The category's tight competition doesn't leave much room for error, either

"The Pro Stock field was separated by four-hundredths (of a  second) last
weekend," said Connolly, "so when it sounds like I'm complaining,  I'm
complaining about small, minor details, but that's what it takes to win in  this
class.  Each race is decided by thousandths of  a second, not  only on that run
because not only are you running the guy in the other lane, but  you are also
running your opponent in the next round to get lane choice at a lot  of these
tracks.  That's why it's important to have a fast race  car."

And it helps keep the crew members smiling.

One  of Connolly's 18 Pro Stock wins came at Route 66 Raceway in 2004, and he
had the  opportunity to share the winner's circle (the first of three times)
with his dad  Ray, who won in Super Gas. Dave Connolly also claimed the
$50,000 winner's share  in the 2005 NHRA Pro Stock Challenge at the track that's
located south of  Chicago.

-credit: dcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Krisher , Dave Connolly