Dave Connolly Has Confidence in Car, Crew Going into Pro Care Rx Nationals So what's the fuss about six races in a row? If you're a driver in contention for a solid place in Pro Stock point production, as is Dave Connolly, the approach is...
Dave Connolly Has Confidence in Car, Crew Going into Pro Care Rx Nationals
So what's the fuss about six races in a row?
If you're a driver in contention for a solid place in Pro Stock point production, as is Dave Connolly, the approach is one race a week for six weeks.
With the first of the sextet about to unfold -- the 37th annual Pro Care RX SuperNationals, Friday through Sunday, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park -- Connolly says he "doesn't look at it for the long haul. We have to take it one race at a time.
"You have to stay on top of your game at each race and do your thing. It makes no difference if you have six races over 12 weeks or six races over six weeks, you still have to concentrate on every one of them because every one is important -- especially after our early exit at Chicago."
Connolly slipped from second to third in NHRA POWERade Series points following an atypical first-round loss two weeks ago at Chicago -- just his second in nine races.
"Jeg (Coughlin, his Cagnazzi Racing teammate) won there and went around us in points," added Connolly, driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels/Seelye Wright Automotive Group Chevy Cobalt. Coughlin now is second (657 points) and Connolly third (607). "I'd really like to stay in the top three cars before the first cut (in the new Countdown to the Championship), but we have to get back to our game plan and stay focused."
The Countdown format cuts the number of title contenders to the top eight in points after 17 races and eliminates four more after 21 races, leaving the final four to settle it during the season's finals two events.
"We went to Farmington (N.C.) last week to do a little testing and get ready for the next six races," said Connolly, 24, a top-five finisher in his first three full seasons on the Pro Stock tour. "We aren't going to have very much time to test between any of those races."
Consistency had been a hallmark of Connolly's season -- one win, one runner-up and three semifinal finishes -- until the team encountered problems during qualifying at Chicago. He started 15th and lost a tight race to Allen Johnson by six-thousandths of a second. But the team rectified the trouble spot Sunday and Connolly's Cobalt responded with a 6.667-second elapsed time that was fourth-quickest of the round. Johnson's time was 6.663 seconds, quickest of the round.
"It was a shame we struggled as bad as we did," said Connolly, a native of Elyria, Ohio. "We did rebound, got ourselves together for the first round and made a real good run. We were just parked on the wrong side of the ladder. "
Connolly was runner-up at Raceway Park last year and feels his team is ready to take that one step farther on Sunday.
"I know what we are capable of doing and what the car can run," he said. " I have full confidence we will go into Englishtown ready to go. I think we have a shot at winning. That's the good thing about the team we have now. I always think we have a shot at winning any race."