Teammate Jeg Coughlin Delivers; Connolly's First Loss in Six Races A slight move right toward the starting line and Jeg Coughlin's quick reaction time combined to end Dave Connolly's five-race NHRA Pro Stock winning streak Sunday in the second...
Teammate Jeg Coughlin Delivers; Connolly's First Loss in Six Races
A slight move right toward the starting line and Jeg Coughlin's quick reaction time combined to end Dave Connolly's five-race NHRA Pro Stock winning streak Sunday in the second round of the ACDelco Nationals on a hot track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The loss was difficult, too, because it may have dealt Connolly's championship aspirations a lethal blow -- and exposed a flaw in the new Countdown title-deciding format.
Connolly had a 10-point lead before eliminations, but his early loss, coupled with Greg Anderson's victory over Coughlin in the finals, left Connolly in third place with 3088 points. He is 48 behind Anderson and 14 behind Coughlin with this weekend's Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Calif., looming as the deciding event.
Until that fateful round, Connolly's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt, owned by Evan Knoll and operated by Victor Cagnazzi Racing, had been flawless. He was the No. 1 qualifier (6.725 seconds) and he added his 21st consecutive round win while dispatching Kenny Koretsky in round one (6.741 at 204.32 to 6.801 at 202.21).
The quarterfinal-round numbers tell the story: Connolly, .033-second reaction, 6.773-second, 204.91-mph run; Coughlin, .006-second reaction, 6.775, 203.80 mph, winning margin .0259 seconds.
"That wasn't the note we wanted to go out on," said a dejected Connolly. "I thought we had the better car. I might have driven to conservative and he did a better job of getting down the track. It's unfortunate it went down like this.
"This team is very strong and we want to finish no worse than second. It will be very disappointing if we don't finish second after the season that we had."