Commerce: Dave Connolly preview

Dave Connolly Hopes to Drive New Cobalt to Southern Nationals Win Pro Stock Driver Trails Series Leader by 50 Points COMMERCE, Ga. - Dave Connolly and Mike Dzurilla's Bullet Motorsports team will put their Pro Stock championship hopes on ...

Dave Connolly Hopes to Drive New Cobalt to Southern Nationals Win
Pro Stock Driver Trails Series Leader by 50 Points

COMMERCE, Ga. - Dave Connolly and Mike Dzurilla's Bullet Motorsports team will put their Pro Stock championship hopes on Chevrolet's new Cobalt, beginning with the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, Friday through Sunday,

The sleek entry lived up to advance billing during test sessions Monday and Tuesday at Rockingham, N.C., prompting crew chief Terry Adams to park the Chevrolet Cavalier that had produced five national event victories and six runner-up finishes for Connolly.

Right now, they don't know much about the Cobalt, but Adams, engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and crew members Brad Hall, John Utt and Ray Connolly (Dave's dad) are about to learn a lot more.

This is the first of six races in seven weeks, a grueling part of the schedule that is certain to reveal how competitive the Cobalt is.

Connolly, 22, enters the weekend competition 50 points behind first-place Warren Johnson, 61, in POWERade Series points (536-486). Each driver has won twice in 2005 and been second once. Connolly beat Johnson in the finals at Pomona, Calif., in February and defeated two-time reigning champion Greg Anderson in the title round at Las Vegas. Jason Line beat Connolly in the finals at Gainesville, Fla.

"We really made some headway with the Cobalt on Monday and we made a couple good runs on Tuesday," Connolly said, "so Terry decided we'd give it a shot and see how it works out."

Adams spent last weekend massaging the Jerry Haas-built chassis.

"I just needed to go through it and make sure everything worked like it should," said Adams. "The more runs we made on the Cobalt, the more it favored the Cavalier. And the more we run the Cobalt, the better it will get."

"Terry was tinkering with the car," Connolly commented following testing. "It was leaving the starting line better and he was tuning it, taking notes and getting closer in the tune-up. You just don't realize that there are so many things to take care of on a new car. Things came naturally with the old car we've raced for two years."

Frequency of races may turn out to be an important tool for the Bullet team as the weeks slip past. They'll be racing on slippery track surfaces, in the heat and whatever weather conditions Mother Nature provides, a cross-section of situations to which Adams must tune the car.

"We definitely need to be ready for the next three races," added Connolly. "We've done a lot of testing in the last three weeks and we'll have plenty of spare clutch parts and things like that. It looks like Grump will have his motors up to par, so I don't see any worries in the next few races.

"You have to be sharp in your driving, the crew chief has to be on his game and everybody has to pull together."

This tough schedule can bolster or burst a team's title hopes. This team believes in bolstering, and Connolly enjoys being a contender.

"It's fun. It definitely makes you want to race," the Elyria, Ohio-based driver said. "It does get discouraging when you're out there just trying to qualify. Once you're doing good, fighting to win races and fighting for first (place), it makes everything that much more exciting."

That's a feeling the entire Bullet Motorsports team would like repeated many times over the final 17 races.

-bms-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Terry Adams , Jason Line , Jerry Haas , Dave Connolly