Topeka: Dave Connolly final summary

Hot Connolly Captures Second NHRA Pro Stock Victory in Three Races Dave Connolly wasn't as sharp at the starting line as he has been lately, but he had it when it was Sunday and the result was his second NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock victory...

Hot Connolly Captures Second NHRA Pro Stock Victory in Three Races

Dave Connolly  wasn't as sharp at the starting line as he has been lately,
but he had it when  it was Sunday and the result was his second NHRA POWERade
Series Pro Stock  victory in three races and fifth place in points.  He also
became the first  driver in the category to win twice this year.
"(Crew chief) Tommy  Utt and the guys saved us in the first two rounds,"
said Connolly after edging  Kurt Johnson and winning the O'Reilly Summer
Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka,  "and I was able to pick them up in the last two.
It was a real team  win."
Connolly left the starting line first in the finals and never  looked back.
His SKULL GEAR Chevy Cobalt covered the quarter mile in 6.844  seconds at
201.34 mph to eliminate Johnson's quicker and faster 6.836 at 201.70  mph.  The
difference came with Connolly's .020 of a second reaction to  Johnson's .070.

The decision was the second for crew chief Tommy Utt, who took over three races ago. Connolly responded by promptly reaching the winner's circle for the first time in 2006 in Atlanta three weeks ago. Brian Olson also returned as team manager at the same time.

"We made up a couple of rounds on some of the (other Pro Stock drivers) this weekend and moved up a few spots in points. That's all we can hope for right now," Connolly continued. The seventh triumph of his career in 17 finals catapulted him from 12th to fifth.

On another hot, humid day in  Kansas, Connolly was cool behind the wheel.  He
eliminated Ron Krisher in  the first round with a time of 6.828 seconds
(second-quickest run of the round)  at 201.70 mph to a 6.847 at 200.77.  He outran
Rickie Smith with a 6.8939  at 201.22 to 6.848 at 201.46.
Connolly's quick starting-line  reactions carried him past V Gaines in the
semifinals.  Connolly left with  a .045 light that enabled him to get to the
finals, winning with a 6.845 at  201.22 to Gaines' .071, 6.833 at 201.31.
Connolly, runner-up here a  year ago under trying circumstances, credited Utt
with the team's renewed  performances. "Since Tommy took over we made a180
(degree) turnaround," he  said.  "He's made a ton of progress and I think he'
s continuing to try new  things and gaining a little bit more each time.  I don
't foresee our  success stopping any time soon. We just have to stay on our
toes and keep  working for the win lights."

Connolly had 227 points and was 12th in points when Utt arrived. He left Topeka with 508 and is only 51 points out of second place with 14 races to go. The team returns to competition in the CarQuest Nationals at Joliet, Ill., June 9-11.

-jls-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Ron Krisher , Rickie Smith , Brian Olson , Dave Connolly