Connolly Heads Home Confident for Inaugural Norwalk Race Ohio Native Welcomes New Stop on NHRA POWERade circuit NORWALK, Ohio, June 26, 2007 - Having grown up a little more than 30 miles from Norwalk, Ohio, in the western Cleveland suburb of ...
Connolly Heads Home Confident for Inaugural Norwalk Race
Ohio Native Welcomes New Stop on NHRA POWERade circuit
NORWALK, Ohio, June 26, 2007 - Having grown up a little more than 30 miles from Norwalk, Ohio, in the western Cleveland suburb of Elyria, Chevy Pro Stock driver is certainly looking forward to this weekend's inaugural Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at newly renovated Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park here in Norwalk. Although his residence has been Florida for most of his young professional racing career, returning to his roots is not lost on the talented 24-year-old driver of the Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt. He joins fellow "Buckeyes" and Pro Stock competitors Ron Krisher from Warren and teammate Jeg Coughlin from Delaware in ushering in a new stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit.
"Home races are always kind of interesting," Connolly said. "You have friends, family, and a lot of kids from high school that I haven't seen in a long time will stop by. It's kind of exciting because you always want to perform well at your home track. It's basically where I grew up racing, and where my career started, you might say. It's still been six, seven years since I've been back there so it's been a long time since I've been at that track. Norwalk's always been a beautiful facility, the (track owners) Baders always do a great job there in preparing the place and we just hope everything goes well for us. Everyone from Grandma, to high school friends, there will definitely be a little extra pressure. I feel pretty confident on what we've established so far this year and we'll go out there and be all right."
Connolly already has three consecutive top-five finishes in Pro Stock points in his young career, and this year he's paired with Cagnazzi Racing to form a formidable duo with two-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin. Connolly has driven his Chevy to a win at St. Louis where he beat teammate Coughlin and a runner-up finish at Topeka, placing him third in points as he looks forward to the continuing Countdown to the Championship.
"This is the best time I've ever been a part of," Connolly said. "The Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt is performing better than anything I've ever raced, and to have the backing of Evan Knoll as an owner and a sponsor, he's down to earth and he has all the confidence in the world in all of his drivers. He got us hooked up with Victor (Cagnazzi) and after a few years, he's put together one of the best programs out here. Everything is in-house and I think that's what brings consistency to the table, week in and week out. It seems like after we go out and perform well we then have a nice shop to go back to and work in and test things. We've tested a lot more this year than we have in the past, and even though the rest of the class has stepped up, I like to think our Torco Racing Fuels Chevrolet has gone right along with them. It's still tough, we still have a lot of work to do, but the team that we've put together is second to none.
"The way the format is this year, it's definitely working in our favor. I can't say I was for it in the beginning, but I'm for it now. It's going to be a bloodbath during those last three or four races before the cut. We're going to have to perform well to stay in the top eight and then that final four cut is going to be the tough one. We'll have to have everything performing flawlessly, all of our motors and the car, and it's going to be a long haul, but we have the backing, the team and the right people in line to get it done. I love the team Evan and Victor have put together and I'm proud to be a part of it."
-credit: gm racing