CONNOLLY CONFIDENT AS PRO STOCK COUNTDOWN TO FOUR BEGINS AT INDIANAPOLIS This is what Dave Connolly envisioned . . . being 17 races into the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series season and still be a serious Pro Stock championship contender. With kudos...
CONNOLLY CONFIDENT AS PRO STOCK COUNTDOWN TO FOUR BEGINS AT INDIANAPOLIS
This is what Dave Connolly envisioned . . . being 17 races into the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series season and still be a serious Pro Stock championship contender.
With kudos to the new Countdown to the Championship format now in place, Connolly is just that. One week he's 172 points behind Greg Anderson and the next he's a mere 10 points in arrears. It's not done by smoke and mirrors.
The talented 24-year-old native of Elyria, Ohio, has been a solid contender throughout the season. He's put Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt into the winner's circle four times in five final rounds over the last 11 races and comes into the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Friday through Monday, on the heels of a very impressive performance at Reading, Pa., last week. He outlasted the rain and the rest of the field to take the victory on Wednesday, three days late, and solidify his hold on second place in the first part of the Countdown.
Points have been reset for the next part, the Countdown to Four, and Connolly's 2060 points are 10 behind Anderson and 10 ahead of Jeg Coughlin, his Cagnazzi Racing teammate who held the No. 2 spot before the Reading race.
"We definitely have to take advantage of our situation, as far as the championship goes," said Connolly. "Greg and Jeg were running away from us for awhile but now there are five other drivers who want to take advantage of it, too.
"Everybody is running good right now. There are too many guys running well so you need to have a little luck your side.
"We've had a pretty good race car for most of the season. I finally drove well at Reading and it was good to get the win. It boosted my morale and was a confidence booster for the team."
Connolly and Coughlin planned a test session Tuesday to make sure their Cobalts are at their best when qualifying begins Friday night.
"We've had a busy racing schedule the last couple of months and the guys at the shop have come up with some things we haven't had an opportunity to test yet," Connolly said. "We want to make sure we have all the kinks worked out and that we have the best race cars we can possibly have."
This will be the former Super Comp driver's 100th Pro Stock start. His Wednesday win was his 13th in 25 final rounds -- an average of one every four races. He has been a top-five finisher in each of his three professional seasons -- third in 2004 and 2006 and fifth in 2005.
Memphis, Dallas and Richmond, Va., are the remaining stops that will send the top four into a two-race shootout at Las Vegas (Oct. 28) and Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 4).
"We need to make a good showing in this first race," continued Connolly. "I've done well at Indianapolis (he was runner-up to Anderson last year), Memphis and Dallas, and we've only had one race at Virginia.
"There's going to be a lot of pressure on everybody on our team and I think we proved we can respond to the pressure."