Shake Up in Dave Connolly Camp: Tommy Utt Replaces Adams as Crew Chief It happens in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer and motorsports. When a team is struggling, changes are as inevitable as rain in Seattle. After seeing his...
Shake Up in Dave Connolly Camp: Tommy Utt Replaces Adams as Crew Chief
It happens in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer and motorsports. When a team is struggling, changes are as inevitable as rain in Seattle.
After seeing his Knoll Gas SKULL GEAR Pro Stock team fall out of contention early this season, owner Evan Knoll made crew moves this week. He replaced veteran crew chief Terry Adams with Tommy Utt, beginning with the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals Friday at Atlanta Dragway.
"We have been frustrated with the way the car has been running," said Latrell Preston, Financial Controller of Torco Racing Fuels and Knoll Gas Motorsports. "We had higher expectations than where we are right now and we wanted to try something different.
"Terry Adams will still be with the team. He will be in Atlanta and will play an integral role with the team. Tommy Utt will serve as the interim crew chief at Atlanta and we'll have a different tuner. Because of the timing, the roles have yet to be defined. We'll have time to regroup as a team after the Atlanta race . . . get things sorted out and get a clearer idea about the direction we want to go.
"Brian Olson returns to the same position he had last year, Pro Stock team manager," Preston continued. "That is going forward no matter who we decide on as crew chief.
"When we get to Atlanta, hopefully we can win some rounds and win the race."
Connolly was projected to be a title contender -- he won twice in five final rounds and finished fifth in POWERade Series points last season -- but hasn't been in the top 10 this year. Knoll took action after Connolly did not qualify for last weekend's race at Bristol, Tenn. Connolly was a finalist at Las Vegas last month and was a few points out of 10th position prior to going to Bristol. Now he is 12th with 227 points. However, the parity in Pro Stock has tightened the standings and Connolly is only 60 points (three rounds) from pushing his way into 10th place.
"We didn't have time to test after the change was made," said Connolly, "but I think we'll be alright. We weren't performing and unfortunately Terry was the one who had to change positions. He has been responsible for all (five) of my Pro Stock (winner's) trophies."
Connolly has one round win in two previous stops at Atlanta Dragway. He didn't qualify here in 2005 and, soon thereafter, found out his then-car owner was folding the team. That led to Knoll purchasing it last June.