Dave Connolly Finishes Long Day at Bristol With First Pro Stock Win of the Season Look out NHRA Pro Stock top 10 hopefuls, Dave Connolly is closing in. He began chasing POWERade Series points five races after his challengers, making his...
Dave Connolly Finishes Long Day at Bristol With First Pro Stock Win of the Season
Look out NHRA Pro Stock top 10 hopefuls, Dave Connolly is closing in.
He began chasing POWERade Series points five races after his challengers, making his 2008 debut three races ago. But he and the Cagnazzi Racing Charter Communications Chevy Cobalt team showed little rust. Connolly was runner-up two weeks ago at St. Louis and then he drove into the Thunder Valley Nationals winner's circle Sunday at Bristol Dragway following a long day of waiting out rain delays.
The victory, the 18 of his career in 31 final rounds, boosted him into 14th place with 244 points and he is just 83 out of 10th -- the final position in the six-race Countdown to the Championship that doesn't begin until September.
"We were hungry," Connolly said. "We definitely wanted to get our first 2008 race win and I'm glad we were able to get it at Bristol. It's kind of a home race for us and we won it in front of a lot of friends.
"We were able to get some better luck at Bristol today. We've lost the tight ones, blown up motors and took out (timing) cones before, but this time we picked up the trophy."
Ray Connolly, Dave's dad, made it two family wins in one day again when he won in Super Gas. It was the third time they've accomplished the feat since Dave's Pro Stock debut in 2003.
Dave Connolly began the day from the No. 6 starting slot and eliminated Tom Hammonds (6.776 seconds to 6.795), Greg Anderson (6.769 to foul), Ron Krisher on a hole shot (6.769 to 6.760) and Greg Stanfield in the finals on another hole shot (6.731 at 204.70 mph to 6.717 at 204.42).
Connolly said he played a starting-line game with Stanfield and took advantage of it. Connolly's .014-second reaction time bolted him into a lead he never relinquished. Stanfield had .101 reaction time.
"That's what you have to do when you feel like you're the underdog," said Connolly. "That's just how it worked out. I knew we had the car to win the race and it took the driver to let go of the clutch pedal on time in the last couple of rounds to get hole-shot wins. It shook a little on the last run but it was still good enough to get that win light, and that's all that counts."
Intermittent rain showers and a strong storm later in the day prolonged the final rounds until after 10 p.m., but Connolly and the Mooresville, N.C.-based team didn't mind.
"Thanks to Charter Communications and LifeLock for helping us get back to the track," said Connolly. "I was ready to go racing again."
And get back to the winner's circle.