Dave Connolly's Pro Stock Juggernaut Rolls Into Texas Motorplex Seeking Four Wins in Row The excitement is building -- along with the pressure -- as Dave Connolly takes one more step on a tenuous trip he hopes leads to the 2007 NHRA ...
Dave Connolly's Pro Stock Juggernaut Rolls Into Texas Motorplex Seeking Four Wins in Row
The excitement is building -- along with the pressure -- as Dave Connolly takes one more step on a tenuous trip he hopes leads to the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock championship.
He has been quite spectacular of late, reeling off three consecutive, and impressive, victories to wrest the No. 1 position from three-time champion Greg Anderson, who led from the first race. The latter two triumphs have come against Anderson in the new Countdown to Four segment, thereby providing Connolly with a 2,291-2,258 advantage over Anderson as they prepare for the 22nd O' Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, near Dallas.
This is the third of four races before the top four drivers move on to the deciding two events and the other four accept their parting gifts of places five through eight when the final tallies are counted after the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 4, at Pomona, Calif.
But there is a lot of close racing remaining, and Connolly, driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt for Victor Cagnazzi Racing, is raring to go.
"The Countdown is cutthroat," he said. "Every race is so important. We came into the first two races (of this segment) knowing that, and to win the first two and be locked into a slot in the finals already is incredible. You couldn't ask for a better time to get hot. I'm thankful I get to share this with the people on our team, crew chief Tommy Utt, his son John, Keith Graham and Craig Campton. They are like family to me. It's awesome.
"Tommy is like a second dad to me. He is getting his chance to shine because Victor is giving him all the right parts and pieces to work with and Evan is giving us the funding to do this. These Pro Stock cars are a little finicky, and Tommy is doing a great job of nitpicking at what we've established. I' m just a small ingredient and I'm thankful they let me ride in the cockpit."
Connolly was second after the first 17 races, 172 points behind Anderson after winning at Reading, Pa. But he trailed by just 10, 2,070-2,060, after the points were adjusted going into Indianapolis.
"I'm excited about racing at Dallas," continued Connolly. "I won my second race there (September 2004). We must take every driver seriously. It will be challenging, but we are excited about it."
At this juncture, Connolly and Anderson have accelerated away from their six rivals and Connolly is hunkered down, preparing for what may play out as a two-man title showdown. The two drivers have won 13 of the 19 2007 races to date, Connolly taking a career-high six in seven final rounds. He has 15 wins in 27 career final rounds in 101 Pro Stock races.
"When you have a good car and all the confidence in the world in the crew, obviously it is gives the driver confidence," said Connolly. "I feel comfortable in the seat and it shows in the on-track performances. I think our team is very good under pressure and I think we showed it in the last couple of races. It's going to be exciting for the fans and everyone else. Every round win means a lot."