Surging Dave Connolly Shoots for Another Win in Seattle Failing to make the starting line-up in two of the first seven races isn't exactly the harbinger of a championship-contending season. It was as plain as Dave Connolly's 12th position in...
Surging Dave Connolly Shoots for Another Win in Seattle
Failing to make the starting line-up in two of the first seven races isn't exactly the harbinger of a championship-contending season. It was as plain as Dave Connolly's 12th position in NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock standings.
"If you had told me six races ago that we'd be a couple of rounds out of the lead now I wouldn't have believed it," said the talented driver of the SKULL Gear Chevy Cobalt Sunday after winning at Denver. "But ever since Atlanta, when Tommy Utt (crew chief) came on board, we've just taken it to a different level."
He has been scorching the competition for the past seven races and his current level would be third, as in third place in points, with the top two levels now within reach. Three wins, one runner-up and 619 points have added up quite nicely for Connolly and the team, pushing him to 846 and within 51 points of new series leader Jason Line and 29 of former pacesetter Greg Anderson.
"Greg has stumbled a little and that's given us all a chance to catch up," added Connolly, who will attempt to climb even closer to the guys in front of him in the Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at Pacific Raceways in Kent.
He became the first Pro Stock driver to win three times this season on Sunday in the heat and high altitude of the Mile-High city. It was his eighth career title but he was nonetheless ready to vacate the mile-high climes for sea level, Pacific Raceways and a return to normal race conditions. Racing in Denver requires a one-off setup.
Connolly, 23, has one national event victory here and came close to winning twice on July 25, 2004. Shortly after capturing the Super Comp title in sportsman competition, he lost a close race to Anderson for the Pro Stock title.
"It's going to be good to get off the mountain and get back to sea level. We have done pretty good there and I'm comfortable racing there," he said.
"We had an awesome car in Denver, but Jason was the fastest guy in each round. I knew what I had to do (in the finals). I went up there (to the starting line) knowing how I wanted to set up. It was basically what you do when you bracket race."
The result was Connolly's near-perfect reaction time of .008 of a second (.000 is perfect) got him off the line first and to the finish line first. Line' s .093 doomed him from the start. He had the quickest time of the round again, but it didn't matter. Connolly won with a 7.173 at 193.07 mph to Line's 7.141 at 194.13.
Performances like that are harbingers of a championship-contending team.
With one victory already in the bank in the beginning of what Connolly calls a pivotal NHRA Western Swing (back-to-back races in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif.), he has the leaders looking over their shoulders.