New SKULL GEAR Cobalt's Positive Test Results Please Connolly, Adams and Crew; Connolly Will Drive in Super Comp, too There was relief in Terry Adams' voice. Two consecutive weeks of work on the team's new SKULL GEAR Chevrolet Cobalt Pro ...
New SKULL GEAR Cobalt's Positive Test Results Please Connolly, Adams and Crew; Connolly Will Drive in Super Comp, too
There was relief in Terry Adams' voice.
Two consecutive weeks of work on the team's new SKULL GEAR Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stock entry yielded a response that brought smiles from the veteran crew chief, driver Dave Connolly and the crew.
"It seems like it should run pretty good now," said Adams Wednesday morning following several days of intense testing at South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta. "We made a lot of eighth-mile runs and I definitely think it will be a good car when we get a few more runs on it. We didn't make two runs with everything the same.
"I was pleased with the way things went. When we made changes, you knew you made changes."
The positive results come at the right time. The new Jerry Bickel-built race car will make its NHRA POWERade Series debut at the ACDelco Gatornationals, Friday through Sunday, at Gainesville Raceway.
"We ran good at Gainesville last year and maybe we ran run good there again this year," added Adams.
Connolly was the Gatornationals runner-up in 2005. He qualified fourth and registered his career-best speed of 207.51 mph.
"I'd take another finish like that," said Connolly, who is still seeking his first round win of the 2006 season. "The car is in pretty good shape. It handled the changes (Adams made) well. Terry tried a lot of different things. It's not far off now; all we need are more laps under our belt and everything will be fine."
The team's year-old Cobalt never came close to performing like the Cavalier it replaced. Connolly won all seven of his Pro Stock races in the Cavalier -- including three in 2004, his first full season on tour -- and two last year.
Connolly led the series early in 2005 and was in second place -- with two wins and the Gainesville runner-up -- when the Cobalt made its debut. His best finish thereafter was second twice and he was fifth in points.
"We just couldn't get that other car to respond to changes," said Adams. " This team needs a good run right now."
Connolly and Adams did come up with a couple good test runs and wound up in the final round of a "Chicago Style" elimination that paired two cars with the quickest elapsed times following two qualifying runs. It was a close race, with Allen Johnson winning in 6.733 seconds at 205.44 mph to Connolly's 6.737 at 206.20.
"We were changing things, even for that run, and the car still made a good run," said Connolly. "It was a good test session. We really matched up well with the other cars that were there."
Connolly to Compete in Super Gas at Gainesville
Connolly, whose drag racing roots are in Sportsman Series Super Comp racing, plans to drive his new Super Comp dragster in several NHRA national events this season, beginning with the Gatornationals.
"I'm excited about driving in Super Comp. It's where I began my driving career," Connolly, 23, said. "I've driven the SKULL GEAR Cobalt and my Super Comp car in the same race before and it's not too hectic. I think it helps me as a driver. The more looks at the 'tree you get, the more it helps you."
Connolly won the Super Comp title at the Seattle race in 2004 and was runner-up in Pro Stock. His first national event win was in Super Comp at the fall Chicago race in 2002.
"I worked on my car Monday at Valdosta and I think I got it close to where it needs to be," he said.
He'll begin Super Comp competition at Gainesville Thursday. His first Pro Stock qualifying session is at 11:30 a.m. Friday.