Englishtown: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly, Torco Gear Team Ready to Go after SuperNationals Win Driver Feeling More Comfortable at Controls of the Chevy Cobalt ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - The saga of Dave Connolly and the Torco Gear Pro Stock team continues. This week's segment, the...

Connolly, Torco Gear Team Ready to Go after SuperNationals Win
Driver Feeling More Comfortable at Controls of the Chevy Cobalt

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - The saga of Dave Connolly and the Torco Gear Pro Stock team continues.

This week's segment, the SuperNationals, is brought to you by K&N Filters.

A preview of what's to come:

Connolly will be driving the Chevrolet Cobalt at Raceway Park, June 17-19, searching for his first NHRA national event win for new owner Evan Knoll. (He did win the special King Demon Crown race and $50,000 last Saturday at Joliet, Ill.) The 22 year-old driver from Elyria, Ohio, expects to be able focus more on racing this weekend following a stressful three weeks.

He is fourth in POWERade Series points (701) and trails series leader Greg Anderson by 86 points going into the 11th of 23 races. Qualifying is scheduled at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

This is his second visit to Raceway Park in his second full season of Pro Stock competition. More importantly, this is his fifth race in the Cobalt.

"I'm starting to see the (starting) light better and am feeling comfortable driving the Cobalt," Connolly said. "I'm starting to get a comfort level (in the car) and that's a big key to winning races."

The one area that needs improving, he added, "is the way my foot sits on the clutch pedal. It's not as good as I'd like it to be."

The Cobalt replaced the Cavalier he'd used for the first 42 races of his career, the one in which he won five times, including twice this season, and finished second seven times, twice in 2005.

"We were down on power last weekend (at Joliet, Ill.) but I'm sure Grump (Bill 'Grumpy' Jenkins) will fix that for this weekend," Connolly continued. "His shop (in Malvern, Pa.) is close to the track and I'm sure he wants to do well here."

Jenkins, a legendary Pro Stock engine builder, supplies the team's horsepower.

A review of the recent past:

Connolly led the championship twice earlier in the season but the team suffered a combination of problems, beginning in the Cobalt's first race at Atlanta when he didn't qualify.

That wasn't nearly as devastating as the decision of former team owner Mike Dzurilla to sell his Bullet Motorsports team on May 23. Connolly and friends were determined to not let this title-contending team fold. They rallied support, first from Andy and Mark Carrier, owners of the Carrier Boyz Top Fuel team, and then from Evan Knoll, owner/president of Torco Racing Fuels and Gear.

The Carrier Boyz financed the team's trip to the Topeka, Kan. race May 29 and recommended the entire team to Knoll, who stepped up on June 6, purchasing the team -- including crew chief Terry Adams, Jenkins and crew members Brad Hall and John Utt.

"Now that we found the backing, my mind can be focused more on racing instead of whatever," said Connolly. "You try not to let it bother you, but that's not easy to do. It took help from the Carrier Boyz and Evan Knoll to get us here and we appreciate everyone's help."

The uncertainty of his drag racing future weighed heavily on his mind, but Connolly remained positive. He stared at the uncertainty of his future with an attitude of someone much older, and learned from it.

"You never know how quick things can be lost and it puts everything in perspective," he said.

It could've been worse.

"We still have the opportunity to be at the races," Connolly concluded.

Does this team have a race win in store this weekend?

-kr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Terry Adams , Dave Connolly