Joliet: Dave Connolly preview

Dave Connolly to Debut New Torco Fuels and Gear Colors at Joliet, Ill. Ownership Worries over, Connolly Can Concentrate on Title Chase JOLIET, Ill. - Route 66 Raceway has been the site of several firsts for Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly. 1....

Dave Connolly to Debut New Torco Fuels and Gear Colors at Joliet, Ill.
Ownership Worries over, Connolly Can Concentrate on Title Chase

JOLIET, Ill. - Route 66 Raceway has been the site of several firsts for Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly.

1. He made his professional driving debut in 2003
2. He competed in the special King Demon Crown race in June 2004
3. He and his dad Ray each won - Ray in Super Comp - at the October 2004 race.

So, call it kismet, coincidence or whatever, but there's another first for Connolly at the CarQuest Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

"This is the first time we will be running our Cobalt with Torco Fuels and Gear on the car," said Connolly of the new Evan Knoll Gas Motorsports team's sponsor.

Knoll, president and owner of Torco Fuels and Gear, completed purchase of the former Bullet Motorsports team from owner Mike Dzurilla Monday. Andy and Mark Carrier, owners of the Carrier Boyz Top Fuel team, recommended Connolly and the team to Knoll, who kept the team intact.

Thus a rather tumultuous two weeks ended for the former Bullet Motorsports team members. They were jolted when Dzurilla unexpectedly folded the team May 23.

Connolly is third in NHRA POWERade points with 647. He trails Warren Johnson (724) and Greg Anderson (711). Connolly, 22, has won twice this season and has five career victories. He also will be competing in the King Demon race on Saturday.

"We didn't know where we were going to be after our last race at Topeka (May 29), but we wanted to stay together," added Connolly, who finished second at Topeka despite the turmoil. "That shows how strong our team is. We were in that position, but we still got things done.

"We are proud that Evan Knoll saw what a great team we had. We would like to give him a championship."

Also making the switch to Knoll's team are crew chief Terry Adams, engine supplier Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and crewmen Brad Hall and John Utt.

"It's nice we are able to finish the year," said Adams. "We hope we can finish it like we started (two wins, one second in the first five races) and we can get back into racing form. No matter who owns the team, this bunch can win races.

"We're still working on our new car, and we'll be even better after we can get it figured out. We had 300 runs on our old car and just 20 runs on the Cobalt. We're learning something on every run."

Connolly and seven other drivers will be competing for the $50,000 King Demon first-place check. "We are excited to go racing," said Connolly. "We feel confident that we can perform well and possibly sweep both races." (That would add another first to the Route 66 list.)

Connolly, runner-up at last year's King Demon, qualified fourth and races Mike Edwards in the first round. Other pairings include: Greg Anderson vs. Kurt Johnson, Jason Line vs. Kenny Koretsky and Larry Morgan vs. Jeg Coughlin Jr.

Connolly's runner-up at Topeka was his second of the year. He's been to the finals in four of the first nine races.

The Carrier Boyz financed Connolly's team's trip to Topeka because they wanted him to stay in championship contention. The Carriers then made their recommendation to Knoll. The Carrier Boyz will manage the Pro Stock team. Brian Olson, longtime friend of Andy and Mark, and a Carrier Boyz team member, will serve as team manager.

-cbr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Kenny Koretsky , Terry Adams , Jason Line , Brian Olson , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards