Columbus: Dave Connolly preview

It's Homecoming for Dave Connolly, Bullet Motorsports Team at Columbus Pro Stock Driver Wants to Rebound Following Unexpected DNQ Last Week COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's homecoming time for Dave Connolly and the Bullet Motorsports Pro Stock drag...

It's Homecoming for Dave Connolly, Bullet Motorsports Team at Columbus
Pro Stock Driver Wants to Rebound Following Unexpected DNQ Last Week

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's homecoming time for Dave Connolly and the Bullet Motorsports Pro Stock drag racing team this weekend at National Trail Raceway, in nearby Kirkersville, site of the Pontiac Performance Nationals.

Connolly's hometown is Elyria, Ohio, and team owner Mike Dzurilla bases the team in Mansfield, Ohio, where Dzurilla also owns Mansfield Speedway.

They wouldn't mind saying, "There's no place like home," Sunday evening in the winner's circle, either. It's a scenario that would help assuage some of the disappointment of not qualifying last week at Atlanta.

"We need to redeem ourselves," said Connolly, who was barely nudged out of the starting lineup by 13-hundredths of a mile an hour. "We consider National Trail to be Bullet's home track. It's just one hour from the shop. We want to come back and do well there."

This is the track where Connolly made it to the finals a year ago, where he made many laps while driving in NHRA Sportsman categories, and where he expects to have a large following of friends and fans from northern Ohio cheering for him Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We definitely don't want a performance like the one we had last weekend," Connolly said. "It was just one of those deals where we didn't make one good run during qualifying, but we'll put things together and come back stronger."

A traction problem on Connolly's final qualifying attempt at Atlanta forced the 22-year-old driver to abort the run, preventing him from qualifying for the Southern Nationals. At the time, he was second in POWERade Series points, 50 behind Warren Johnson.

When the rain-troubled race was completed Sunday night, Connolly was still second (496 points), although the margin between he and Johnson is now 118 points.

There was the usual amount of dejection Saturday, but there was a much stronger dose of determination. There was no need to dwell on the past. The next race is just a few days away.

Connolly has won twice this year (Pomona, Calif., and Las Vegas) and finished second once. He was the No. 1 qualifier at Bristol, Tenn. He was a three-time winner last year in eight final rounds.

Connolly drove the team's new Chevrolet Cobalt last weekend, but noted it wasn't the car's fault he didn't qualify.

"The car cooperated," he said, "but there was a little bit of everything going wrong. We didn't make good runs and Grump's (engine builder Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins) motors were down on power a little bit and they'd been good all year. We are going to put everything together and come back stronger.

"We never thought in a million years that we wouldn't qualify. We've never had a question about qualifying. It's usually about whether we're going to win or not."

"There's no quit in us," said crew chief Terry Adams. "We'll keep fighting. Mike Dzurilla wants to win races . . . we all do. We'll be back. Grump took both race motors back to his shop. We'll be OK if we get a little power back."

Ray Connolly, Dave's dad, and Jason Lynch are Sportsman members of Bullet Motorsports. The elder Connolly has four national event wins, including Super Comp at Houston this year, where Lynch was runner-up in Super Gas.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Terry Adams , Dave Connolly