Brainerd: Dave Connolly final notes

Mechanical Trouble Helps Send Connolly to Early Exit at Brainerd BRAINERD, Minn., Aug.12, 2007 -- Dave Connolly began Lucas Oil Nationals eliminations Sunday with the quickest Pro Stock elapsed time of the weekend (at the time) at Brainerd ...

Mechanical Trouble Helps Send Connolly to Early Exit at Brainerd

BRAINERD, Minn., Aug.12, 2007 -- Dave Connolly began Lucas Oil Nationals eliminations Sunday with the quickest Pro Stock elapsed time of the weekend (at the time) at Brainerd International Raceway, but a clutch problem in the quarterfinals forced him out of contention..

Connolly, the race's defending champion, did his part against Greg Anderson in the second round, beginning with a .008-second reaction time. But the driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt was forced to abort the run when tire shake set in. He slowly crossed the finish line in 14.787 seconds at 56.42 mph while Anderson traveled the quarter-mile in 6.665 seconds at 207.05 mph. Anderson went on to win the event.

In the first round, Connolly posted a time of 6.662 seconds at 206.26 mph to easily beat Tom Hammonds' coasting 16.055 run at 51.41 mph.

"We were chasing a problem during qualifying," said Connolly, who was seeking his second consecutive triumph at this unique track in the middle of Minnesota, "and we had a mishap with the clutch. We put in new clutch discs for eliminations and one disc was warped. That made the car aggressive on the starting line and the tires shook real bad. The car still ran pretty good, but it should've definitely been in the semifinals or finals."

Jeg Coughlin, Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing teammate, got the race win and lengthened his lead in the two drivers' fight for second place in the first portion of NHRA's Countdown to the Championship. Coughlin was clinging to a five-point margin when the race began. He now has 1,196 to Connolly's 1,135.

The Countdown to Eight segment ends Sunday, Aug. 19, at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. The top eight drivers in all four professional categories advance to the second round. Connolly and Coughlin already have clinched berths.

One Connolly made it to the Brainerd winner's circle. Ray Connolly, Dave's father, won the Lucas Oil Nationals Sportsman Series Super Gas title.

-credit: dcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Tom Hammonds , Dave Connolly