Memphis: Dave Connolly preview

Dave Connolly Looks for Powerful Performance at Mid-South Nationals SKULL GEAR Cobalt Driver Was Runner-up at Memphis in 2004 Once again, the talk in the SKULL GEAR Pro Stock camp is about time, elapsed time. Right now, it's taking too much...

Dave Connolly Looks for Powerful Performance at Mid-South Nationals
SKULL GEAR Cobalt Driver Was Runner-up at Memphis in 2004

Once again, the talk in the SKULL GEAR Pro Stock camp is about time, elapsed time. Right now, it's taking too much time for the Dave Connolly-driven Chevrolet Cobalt to travel 1,320 feet.

We're not discussing seconds; we're talking about hundredths and thousandths of a second. The human eye can't compute in those terms, but the sophisticated NHRA timing system does. And Pro Stock drivers win and lose by the slimmest of margins at each POWERade Series event.

"If we can run within two-hundredths (of a second) of the guy in the other lane, I always believe we have a chance because Dave can get that back at the starting line," said Terry Adams, the team's crew chief, of Connolly, who is one of the best when it comes to reaction times.

That isn't the optimum scenario, of course, but it's necessary as Connolly, Adams and crew prepare for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park, August 19-21. A horsepower shortage has driver and crew looking for other ways to shave hundredths and thousandths of seconds off their quarter-mile elapsed times.

Connolly was a finalist last season at the track located in nearby Millington. It was one of eight final rounds he earned in his first full year of racing in the professional category that provides the closest competition.

Connolly reached the finals five times in the first nine races this year, winning twice. He was the point leader on three different occasions -- a career first. He also won the special King Demon Crown title and $50,000 before other teams found more horsepower.

He's now fifth with 1033 points and hoping engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins can provide the necessary horsepower this weekend.

"The engine we ran Sunday at Brainerd (Minn., where he lost in the first round) showed potential," said Connolly. "We can run with the guys ahead of us (Greg Anderson, Warren Johnson, Kurt Johnson and Jason Line, currently 1 through 4 in points, respectively). Our goal is to go to Memphis and qualify in the top half of the field. When you do that, it makes things so much easier.

"Until we find that big gain in horsepower, we'll be fighting an uphill battle. It's frustrating, but we'll get through it."

Connolly qualified 15th and lost to Anderson at Brainerd.

"I do think our performance improved," Adams said Sunday, "but we have to improve a lot more."

This will be an evening race, with qualifying slated Friday at 4:30 and 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday's eliminations begin at 3 p.m.

-jls-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Terry Adams , Jason Line , Dave Connolly