Connolly looking for perfect finish to 2008 season: Pro Stock victory and second place finish in points With his hope of winning the 2008 NHRA Pro Stock championship gone like yesterday's sunset, Dave Connolly is now focusing on winning ...
Connolly looking for perfect finish to 2008 season: Pro Stock victory and second place finish in points
With his hope of winning the 2008 NHRA Pro Stock championship gone like yesterday's sunset, Dave Connolly is now focusing on winning the season-ending Auto Club Finals Sunday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
"The goal now is to go out and win the race," said Connolly, driver of the Lucas Oil/Charter Communications Chevy Cobalt. "Actually, after looking at it, if we can go out and qualify better than Greg Anderson does and win the race, we'll come out of there with a one-two finish for Cagnazzi Racing."
Jeg Coughlin, Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing teammate, officially ousted Connolly from title contention by winning their quarterfinal match on Nov. 2 at Las Vegas. The setback dropped Connolly from third to fourth in points while Coughlin virtually secured his second consecutive Pro Stock championship by winning the race.
"Second place is all we can do at this point," lamented Connolly. "We made a good run at the championship but, unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be for us this year. Jeg definitely picked up the pace and is taking the championship trophy back to the Cagnazzi Racing shop (in Mooresville N.C.). That's the main goal and now it's our job to go out and get the number 3 off our car and get the number 2 on it for next year.
"It's going to be tough. It's no different than any other week . . . everyone seems to have the same objective and that's to go out on a big note. Winning the last race of the year would be pretty cool."
Connolly's last Pomona appearance was at the 2007 Finals. He missed the season-opener at the track because he was without a sponsor. But he came back in the sixth race and qualified for the Countdown to One.
"The last time we were at Pomona (November 2007), we had a fast race car and I screwed up and had a red light," he recalled. "We don't want to do that again. We want to just do our best and see how it pans out."
Nothing, it seemed, was easy for the team this season.
"It was a tough year for us," Connolly noted. "We got a late start and it was kind of a rebuilding year for us. We always had goals in front of us. The whole year it was the challenge to make the Countdown, and after we got to the Countdown it was a challenge to try to win a championship. Now that's out of reach, but we still have goals in front of us and they are to win at Pomona and move into the No. 2 spot.
"Instead of battling Jeg, now we're in a battle with Kurt Johnson (third, five points ahead of Connolly) and Anderson (second, 20 in front of Connolly) along with keeping everybody else from advancing. We definitely don't want to go backwards.
"We're not doing anything different. We're going to a race and trying to win it. Now we don't have to try to play the (qualifying) ladder and try to hook somebody. We're just going to try and qualify in the No. 1 spot and win the race."
Action begins Thursday with the first of four professional qualifying runs at 2:30 p.m. Friday's starting time also is 2:30 and Saturday's two session are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and the last day of 2008 racing gets underway Sunday at 11 a.m.