Richmond: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly to Debut New SKULL Gear Cobalt for Torco Racing Fuels Nationals With the 2006 NHRA POWERade Series winding down, Dave Connolly and the SKULL Gear Chevy Cobalt Pro Stock team will begin work on the 2007 campaign this weekend at Virginia...

Connolly to Debut New SKULL Gear Cobalt for Torco Racing Fuels Nationals

With the 2006 NHRA POWERade Series winding down, Dave Connolly and the SKULL Gear Chevy Cobalt Pro Stock team will begin work on the 2007 campaign this weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, Va., near Richmond.

Connolly will be driving a new Todd Bevis-built Cobalt when qualifying begins Friday for the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals in NHRA's first race at VMP since 2000.

"I think this is going to be a very good race car," said Connolly. "Todd built the car Tommy Lee is driving now and Tommy qualified higher than we did last week in Reading (Pa.). We want to do well at Richmond because Evan Knoll, our team owner, also owns Torco Racing Fuels. This is the first NHRA race he's sponsoring and you definitely want to bring home the trophy for him."

Connolly has four wins -- the most by any driver in the category -- and three runner-up finishes this year despite getting off to a slow start. He was 12th after six races before Tommy Utt became the crew chief. The success that followed helped fuel Connolly's rise to third in POWERade Series points with three races to go in 2006.

"I think we're pretty secure in third place, but we're going to be trying to pick up momentum going into the winter months," said Connolly, who has 1270 series points. "We'd like to get another win before the season ends. We have races left at Las Vegas (Oct. 27-29) and Pomona (Calif., Nov. 9-12). We' ve had success and won races at both tracks."

Connolly, who was a finalist in the April race at Las Vegas, tested the new Cobalt at Rockingham, N.C., before going to Richmond. He'll have four qualifying opportunities -- Friday and 3 and 6 p.m. and Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. -- to get ready for Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations.

-credit: dcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tommy Lee , Dave Connolly