Connolly Beats Jason Line, Claims Lucas Oil Nationals Victory Dave Connolly felt something good Saturday evening, and he wasn't shy about sharing it. "I had a pretty good feeling about the car after our fourth qualifying run," he said then, even...
Connolly Beats Jason Line, Claims Lucas Oil Nationals Victory
Dave Connolly felt something good Saturday evening, and he wasn't shy about sharing it.
"I had a pretty good feeling about the car after our fourth qualifying run," he said then, even though the 6.772-second time at 202.71 mph was 13th best in the starting lineup. It was, however, one of the quickest of the session and that did make a difference in Sunday's eliminations.
Connolly fought his way through four tough rounds to capture his fourth victory of the season and his fourth in five final rounds since Tommy Utt became the SKULL Gear Chevy Cobalt's crew chief 10 races ago. But he applied the exclamation point by defeating teammates Greg Anderson (second in POWERade Series points) and Jason Line (the series leader) in the final two rounds.
Connolly did it at the starting line, like he has for much of his short, albeit very productive career. He had a .006-second reaction time against Anderson, who fouled away his chances with a minus six-thousandths of a second leave, in the semifinals. Connolly was timed in 6.761 seconds at 203.61 mph.
In the finale, Connolly left Line sitting, too, with a .013-second effort (to Line's .052) that kept him in front all the way. He won with a 6.743 at 204.17 to Line's 6.737 at 205.22. It was the Elyria, Ohio native's second title-round win against Line in three 2006 races. Connolly also won at Denver.
"Everything just seemed to be clicking for us today," added Connolly, who won his first Pro Stock race at BIR in 2004. "Tommy did a great job on the car today, (engine builder) Victor Cagnazzi's guys did a great job with the motor . . . and I actually drove four good rounds."
Connolly also left first against Tom Martino in the opening round (.018 to .031, 6.770 at 203.68 to 6.797 at 202.85) and Greg Stanfield (.026 to .028, 6.750 at 203.42 to 6.783 at 202.06).
"The team really came through because we were delayed by rain and NHRA was hustling us up between rounds. Fortunately for us, my dad (Ray) was here and he helped out and nothing fell off the car on any of the runs."
Connolly, 23, now has nine victories in 19 final rounds. He's in his third full Pro Stock season.
Line, Anderson and Connolly have pulled away from the remainder of the Pro Stock field as the number of remaining races has dwindled to seven. Connolly has crept closer to second-place Anderson, 1066-1041, while Line leads with 1149 points.
Connolly and the SKULL Gear team return to action at Memphis Friday in the O' Reilly Mid-South Nationals.