Joliet: Dave Connolly Saturday summary

Connolly Wins $50,000 King Demon Challenge In First Race for New Owner JOLIET, Ill. - Dave Connolly's good week continued Saturday, this time on the race track, when he won the special King Demon Crown Pro Stock race and $50,000 at Route 66...

Connolly Wins $50,000 King Demon Challenge In First Race for New Owner

JOLIET, Ill. - Dave Connolly's good week continued Saturday, this time on the race track, when he won the special King Demon Crown Pro Stock race and $50,000 at Route 66 Raceway.

Connolly, driving the Torco Gear-sponsored Chevrolet Cobalt for the first time, began repaying new owner Evan Knoll with the victory over a red-lighting Jason Line. Line's run of 6.775 seconds at 203.22 mph was better than Connolly's 6.823 at 202.55 mph, but it didn't matter. The win also was the first for the new Chevy Cobalt in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

Connolly didn't see the red light and, for a second, thought he might've lost. "I started to throw it into fifth gear and I looked over and he was already out on us by a lot. Then I looked at the scoreboard and saw the win light on. I about pulled the (braking) parachutes and shut it off," he said.

Connolly, who also qualified fifth for Sunday's CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals, defeated Mike Edwards (6.799 at 202.73 mph to 6.826 at 201.97 mph) and Kurt Johnson (6.819 at 202.24 mph to 6.835 at 203.58 mph) to reach the finals.

Connolly gained a measure of revenge with Saturday's victory. Greg Anderson, Line's teammate, edged the driver from Elyria, Ohio, but one-thousandths of a second a year ago in the Demon finale.

Sunday, Connolly will be attempting to add another triumph to Cobalt's collection and, if he does, it would bring a $25,000 bonus from NHRA that is awarded to a driver who sweeps the two weekend races. V. Gaines is his foe in the opening round.

Connolly's team was ownerless three weeks ago, but Knoll stepped up and made his investment in the team on Monday.

"With everything the whole team has put up with in the last couple weeks, it's great to come out and perform like we have," said Connolly. "It's great to continue the success by winning the King Demon shootout. Torco Racing Fuels and Gear (owned by Knoll) really stepped up to the plate Monday and I think it's something that will really work out in the future. The whole team is excited about that.

"I can't ask for a better weekend, unless we can win Sunday and take home the $25,000 bonus."

Connolly starts the race third in POWERade Series points. He's been to four finals in the season's first nine races, winning twice.

-jls-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards