Englishtown: GM Racing preview

Jason Line, Dave Connolly, A Pair Of GM Racing Gunslingers Making Their Case For The 2005 POWERade Championship Line Is Defending Champ At Old Bridge, Connolly Looking For First New Jersey Win ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 14, 2005 - After a strong...

Jason Line, Dave Connolly, A Pair Of GM Racing Gunslingers Making Their Case For The 2005 POWERade Championship

Line Is Defending Champ At Old Bridge, Connolly Looking For First New Jersey Win

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 14, 2005 - After a strong performance this past weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., by Chevrolet's Dave Connolly and Pontiac's Jason Line, there will be very little time, if any, for these young Pro Stock gunslingers to sit back and relish their accomplishments. The 22-year-old Connolly, who is coming off a big $50,000 payday in the King Demon Crown invitational meet, and the 35-year-old Line, who won Sunday's Pro Stock eliminator final round by just .0015 (that's ten thousandths!) of a second, will join the rest of the GM Racing contingent this week at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for the 36th annual K & N Filters Super Nationals. The SuperNationals is the second event of a late spring swing that has the series competing on three consecutive weekends. The abilities of Connolly, Line and their respective race teams will be taxed as they try to find a winning tune-up for the historic, central Jersey quarter-mile.

"There are a lot of teams stepping up," said Connolly. "Both Greg (Anderson) and Jason (Line) are back in the championship chase, Warren (Johnson) is running strong and now Kurt's (Johnson) starting to run fast again. You know that when the breaks start going Kurt's way he's going to win a few races. You have the Schumacher team turning their program around. When you consider that we're just halfway through the season, there are five cars that have opened up a pretty good lead, but the rest of the field has plenty of time and could just as easily close that gap in the second half. It's not going to be a blow-off season like it was last year. It's good for the class and it's good for the sport."

Jason Line's win over Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the championship heat of Pro Stock on Sunday was the closest final-round race this season with the Summit Racing Pontiac beating the Dodge to the finish stripe by a margin of inches. It marked the second win for Line this year, his fourth final-round appearance and an indication of just how tight the competition has become this year in Pro Stock.

"I looked over and could see that we were about even, and it looked like I was pulling away a little bit," said Line. "I thought I was going to get there first and I guess I would have been surprised if my light wouldn't have come on. I felt like we could outrun him on the back half and maybe that's why I was so confident about getting there first. Normally I would just look straight ahead, but red light on Saturday during the King Demon race was on my mind, and in the finals on Sunday I should have been better on the tree than I was. Fortunately it was just good enough.

"The Pro Stock class is certainly taking on the competitive characteristics that we saw a few years ago, and although it's great for the fans it's pretty nerve wracking for me. Every team out here is working very hard, and because of that the whole class has been elevated to the next level. The other teams are working just as hard as we are and to their credit, they're doing a great job - everybody is. There's no luxury at the starting line and if you're not first off you're probably in trouble. I try to be at least '20' (.020) on the tree and what's going to happen is going to happen. You hope that you then have enough car to pull you through the rest of the way.

After seeing red against Dave Connolly in the finals of the King Demon Crown on Saturday, Line used his victory on Sunday at Route 66 Raceway to move around the Chevy Cobalt driver and into third place in the Pro Stock standings, just 49 points behind teammate and first-place Greg Anderson, and 24 markers behind second-place Warren Johnson. Line is the defending champion at the SuperNationals, and he knows that preparation will be the key to getting the most out of the current three-race set.

"We're working like crazy at the shop," said Line, "and like everybody else running for a championship in this class we're just trying to make things better. It's a constant battle and it doesn't really matter what you do on Sunday, the important thing is what you do at the shop between Monday and Thursday. The race is won at the shop and preparation is key, especially when the schedule starts stacking up on you like it does here in June and then later in July and August. Fortunately we ran pretty good all weekend at Chicago. we certainly didn't dominate but we ran as good as the fastest cars. It takes a little more preparation from an engine standpoint, because when you have this kind of schedule - three races in a row - you need enough motors to get you through any problems that you may encounter. We're hoping to bring a new engine out to Englishtown."

After beating Line in the finals of the King Demon Crown on Saturday and walking away with an extra $50,000, Dave Connolly was hoping to snare the double-up bonus money by winning the Sunday eliminator. But in Pro Stock, it's pretty difficult taking out the same driver on consecutive days, especially when you're racing Line. At Joliet, Connolly still managed to advance into the quarterfinals, the eighth time in 10 races he's raced past the first round of eliminations this year, and that includes two wins and four final-round appearances. With that kind of tenacity the Torco Gears Chevy Cobalt driver has accumulated 701 points and sits within striking distance of the three racers immediately ahead of him.

"Winning the King Demon meant a lot to the whole team, especially since we didn't even know if we were going to be able to show up and race with the team we had before Evan (Knoll) stepped up," said Connolly. "It was quite a bit to overcome to be able to step up and win a race as prestigious as the King Demon Crown. One good thing about this team is that we don't dwell on the past whether it's a DNQ or losing your sponsor. We bounce back, focus on what's in front of us and try to take care of the task at hand. Fortunately for us we've had a lot of luck running at Chicago. Last year in the finals, Greg (Anderson) red-lighted to us and we broke so that worked in our favor. This year our motor was actually hurt going into the King Demon final, and again we got another big break with the red light there. On Sunday we were facing the same circumstances. We were down on power and about three or four hundredths behind Jason (Line), and a team like that is not going to choke a lot. The odds of us getting around him again were pretty slim, but we knew that. My hat's off to those guys for doing a good job, plus with the double-o reaction time Jason didn't slack off too much either. I guess that red light didn't scare him too much.

"You have to keep pace with the rest of the field and in the last two weeks we've kind of fallen off a little bit. We'd definitely like to win the race at Englishtown and we feel we can do that. We were strong there last year but driver failure was the cause of a first-round loss. We'll try to qualify good to begin with and with King Demon points starting all over, there's a lot to get done. After all that Evan Knoll and Torco has done for us, the best thing we can do is put them back in the winner's circle. That's our No. 1 priority, do our best, make good runs, get a few lucky breaks and go to the winner's circle. This team has done it in the past and we're capable of doing it again. After what we've been through we can start having fun again. Even if we DNQ or go out in the first round, it could be a lot worse. You could lose your ride. It makes racing a lot more fun and you realize how fortunate you are to be doing this, how lucky you are just to be racing."

Qualifying for the K & N Super Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 18, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. Final eliminations will be telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 19, starting at 4 p.m. Eastern.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 324,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader since 1931. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 324,000 people around the world. It has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 200 countries. In 2004, GM sold nearly 9 million cars and trucks globally, up 4 percent and the second-highest total in the company's history. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly