Las Vegas II: Dave Connolly final report

Connolly's 6.717-second effort comes up short in quarterfinals LAS VEGAS, November 2, 2008 -- Dave Connolly's remarkable run into contention for the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock championship officially ended on a sunny, windy Sunday at The...

Connolly's 6.717-second effort comes up short in quarterfinals

LAS VEGAS, November 2, 2008 -- Dave Connolly's remarkable run into contention for the NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock championship officially ended on a sunny, windy Sunday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he lost to Cagnazzi Racing teammate and reigning class champion Jeg Coughlin in the quarterfinals of the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals.

Connolly entered the event in third place, 79 points behind Coughlin, knowing Coughlin needed to lose early. Connolly qualified ninth and defeated Warren Johnson in the first round while Coughlin ousted Rickie Jones to set up the confrontation.

Coughlin had a .014 reaction to Connolly's .025 and his Lucas Oil/Charter Communications Chevy Cobalt couldn't make up the difference. The winning time was 6.710 seconds at 204.70 mph to 6.717 at 205.54 mph.

"We put ourselves in that position by struggling through qualifying," said a disappointed Connolly, "and we just went up against the wrong guy. In all reality, that was the situation we wanted to be in. We wanted to have control over the situation. We just didn't do a good enough job. He did a better job and he deserved to win. We'll cheer him on in the next couple of rounds and go to Pomona and try to win that race."

Connolly's team didn't know if it could qualify for the six-race playoffs, much less be a title contender, when they began competing five races into the season. But he went to the finals in seven of the next 13 races and finished sixth. He won once in the first five Countdown to 1 races.

"It's been a real good year, especially where we started from," Connolly said. "Now we are going to try and finish as high as we can. If things go right, Jeg and I will finish one and two."

Coughlin won the race to virtually clinch his second straight and fourth overall series championship. He officially wraps it up when he qualifies for the Southern California Automobile Club Finals at Pomona, Calif., Nov. 13-16.

Ron Krisher, the third member of Mooresville, N.C.-based Cagnazzi Racing, started 12th and beat V Gaines in the opening round before bowing out against Allen Johnson in the quarterfinals.

-credit: vcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher , Allen Johnson , Dave Connolly