Gainesville: Dave Connolly preview

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.

-jk

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Terry Adams , Allen Johnson , Dave Connolly