Sonoma: Dave Connolly preview

Dave Connolly Intent on Resuming Hot Performances at Sonoma When you're hot, you're hot. When you're not, you're lucky. Such was the scenario Dave Connolly found himself in Sunday in Seattle when he lost in the first round of the Schuck's Auto...

Dave Connolly Intent on Resuming Hot Performances at Sonoma
When you're hot, you're hot. When you're not, you're lucky.

Such was the scenario Dave Connolly found himself in Sunday in Seattle when he lost in the first round of the Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals. It was the first time the driver of the SKULL Gear Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt had lasted only one round of competition in two months.

Connolly had been the hottest driver in drag racing's most competitive category during that time, climbing from a distant 12th to third in NHRA POWERade Series points before a hot, slippery track and a broken engine relegated him to the spectator category after a 7.131-second run.

Now the lucky part for the 23-year-old driver from Elyria, Ohio:

A very rare case of an upset epidemic affected the top seven drivers in points as they all checked out after the first round and the point battle remained status quo.

Connolly didn't wait long to expunge the memory of opportunity.

"It's behind us now," he said as he drove down Interstate 5 Monday, heading for Sonoma, Calif., and this weekend's FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway. "We didn't want to leave with that first-round loss and we've already forgot about it," said Connolly, who is third in points with 879, trailing runner-up Greg Anderson's 910 and leader Jason Line's 935. "We'll be trying to get back that winning momentum in Sonoma."

Connolly had not lost in the opening round in the first seven races since Tommy Utt was named crew chief. This time, however, the engine dropped a valve and the engine quit running.

Engine builder Victor Cagnazzi's engine shop in Mooresville, N.C. supplies the horsepower for the Chevy Cobalt.

"I have confidence in Victor guys in the engine shop," added Connolly. "I know they will be working hard to get us a good motor in time for Friday's qualifying sessions."

Connolly's 19-5 round record with Utt after eight races is enviable. He has a lot of time to close ground on the leaders. Nine races and 36 rounds of racing remain.

-dcr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly