Connolly Not Giving Up Hope Going into Auto Club Finals Dave Connolly certainly agrees with the "Whatever happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" motto. But there's no undoing the end to his five-race Pro Stock win streak and the dent it put in his...
Connolly Not Giving Up Hope Going into Auto Club Finals
Dave Connolly certainly agrees with the "Whatever happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" motto. But there's no undoing the end to his five-race Pro Stock win streak and the dent it put in his 2007 NHRA POWERade Series title aspirations.
He did, however, leave the disappointed feelings behind Tuesday as Las Vegas disappeared in his rearview mirror.
"The championship race is not over," he said. "We are three rounds down (48 points) from Greg (Anderson)," going into this weekend's last of 23 races, the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, Thursday through Sunday.
"If we can get lucky enough in qualifying to where we can race him in the second round, beat him and go on and win the race, we could have a shot at overtaking him," added Connolly, who, at 24, would become the youngest Pro Stock titleholder in history, should he prevail.
"That's a real tough task, especially when all these races are decided by thousandths (of seconds)," he continued, "and we are trying to align ourselves perfectly on the ladder. It would take a lot of luck to do that, but I guess that's our only shot."
This has already been a break-out season for Connolly and Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt team managed by Victor Cagnazzi Racing. He has won eight times in nine final rounds, but it was a quarterfinal loss to teammate Jeg Coughlin Sunday that dropped Connolly behind in NHRA's Countdown to One, two-race format to decide the champion.
"There's no use dwelling on last weekend because it's not going to get us anywhere," said Connolly. "It's done and over with. We kind of failed as team and even though we didn't get the job done at Vegas, I still wouldn't trade this team for anything.
"If we don't win, we can look back to the old points system, and after this past weekend Greg would be four and a half rounds ahead of us. He would've locked it up this week. So in my book, he deserves to be the champ, but we are going to be playing within the rules they gave us this year. We will give it our best shot. We aren't finished yet.
"Obviously this is not the position we wanted to be in. We wanted to be in the final round at Vegas so we could just go to Pomona and run our race. We are going to race as hard as we can and try and close this already great season with a good final race."
The team also is in contention for the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship, awarded to the team compiling the most points for consistent qualifying performances. Cagnazzi Racing holds the top two spots, Connolly's crew leading with 708 points, followed by Coughlin's at 706 and Anderson at 702.
"That's strictly a payday for the crew," Connolly said. "It would provide them with a little extra holiday cash."
The $200,000 Pro Stock title purse would appreciated even more appreciated.