Las Vegas: Dave Connolly preview

Better Finish at Las Vegas Is Dave Connolly's Goal Bullet Motorsports' Pro Stock Driver Eyes Return to First Place in Points LAS VEGAS - Asked if he's done well in his three previous visits to this thriving metropolis, Pro Stock driver Dave ...

Better Finish at Las Vegas Is Dave Connolly's Goal
Bullet Motorsports' Pro Stock Driver Eyes Return to First Place in Points

LAS VEGAS - Asked if he's done well in his three previous visits to this thriving metropolis, Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly thought for a moment.

"Not a whole lot," he replied.  "I lost at the blackjack table and we
lost at the track.  We've never had any luck there.  I hope we're due."

There are no other stops on the POWERade Series trail where one can make such comparisons, even though luck is a viable partner in winning hands and races.

Connolly, 22, gets another shot at winning on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the SummitRacing.com Nationals, Friday through Sunday.

"I like racing that track," the Elyria, Ohio-based driver said.  "Both
lanes always seem to be the same.  It's nice when they're equal."

The driver of Mike Dzurilla's Bullet Motorsports Chevrolet Cavalier has been consistent on The Strip's 1320 foot track, reaching the second round in each of his appearances. That is not the reliability factor Connolly or the team prefer. They want to kick it up a notch or two.

One of NHRA's young drivers with "can't miss" qualities, Connolly is one of four Pro Stock drivers to win in 2005. The others are Allen Johnson, Jason Line and Warren Johnson. Considering just four drivers won races a year ago -- led by Greg Anderson's record 15 - this title hunt should be a lot closer than the last.

And don't be surprised if Connolly is in for the long haul.

Dzurilla surrounded Connolly with veteran help, including crew chief Terry Adams and legendary engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.

Connolly has a victory, a runner-up finish and second place in the current POWERade standings after four of 23 races. His 315 points are 26 behind series leader Warren Johnson's 341 in a tightly bunched group that includes Line (294), Allen Johnson (248), Anderson (239), and Jim Yates (233).

After qualifying a season-low 12th last week at Houston, Connolly fought his way to the semifinals before losing to Warren Johnson, the eventual race winner.

"If I'd staged the car better, maybe we would've got to the finals," lamented Connolly. He left the line first, .052 to .071 seconds, but Johnson caught him before the finish line and won, 6.708 seconds to 6.747 seconds.

"We made a pretty good run against Warren, so I think that gives us something to work with for Vegas," Connolly said. "We were right there in the mix of things with Warren, Greg Anderson and Jason Line. Those are pretty good guys right there. If you are comparable to them, it's pretty good company."

As it turns out, Connolly is comparable to them in the eyes of a Las Vegas oddsmaker who puts him fourth at 4/1. Anderson is at 8/5, Line 5/2 and Warren Johnson 3/1.

-bms-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Terry Adams , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly