Las Vegas II: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly Looking for Luck, Repeat Race Victory at Las Vegas When Dave Connolly last visited Las Vegas in April, he hit the jackpot, winning the SummitRacing.com Nationals. It was his second Pro Stock victory of the young POWERade Series ...

Connolly Looking for Luck, Repeat Race Victory at Las Vegas

When Dave Connolly last visited  Las Vegas in April, he hit the jackpot,
winning the SummitRacing.com  Nationals.
It was his second Pro Stock victory of the young  POWERade Series season and
it elevated him to the top of the standings for the  third time this year.
Connolly had 428 points to 419 for Warren  Johnson.
Sixteen races later, Connolly comes back to The Strip at  Las Vegas Motor
Speedway for the ACDelco Nationals.  And boy, are things  different.

His team has a new owner (Evan Knoll); he's driving a different race car (Chevy Cobalt); and he will finish no higher, or lower, than fifth in points. But the 22-year-old from Elyria, Ohio, definitely has learned how to persevere through adversity.

Maybe it's the old saw  about the going getting tough and tough getting
going, but make no mistake; this  SKULL GEAR team has battled adversity and hasn't
taken the 10-count.  Nor  will it.
"Sure, we've been through a lot," Connolly said, "but we hung  together as
a team -- Terry (Adams, crew chief), Grump (engine builder Bill  'Grumpy'
Jenkins), and John (Utt, crew member).  Fifth place isn't where we  wanted to
finish, either, but, considering everything that's happened, we can't  complain."
Connolly, Jenkins and Utt have been teammates since  Connolly's first Pro
Stock race in 2003.  Adams joined the team last  year.
Knoll bought the team in June after the previous owner pulled  the
financial-support plug.  Connolly switched from the aging but still  potent Chevy
Cavalier to the Cobalt in May and the team has faltered  since.
"We'd like to repeat the performance we had in the beginning  of the year at
Las Vegas because it would end the slump we've been in," said  Connolly.  "
Our performance did show signs of life at Dallas (Oct.  7-9).  The car ran
better down the back half of the  track.

"One thing about racing in Las Vegas -- you can have a good time no matter how you run. It was a bonus for us to go out and run well there at the beginning of the year."

Connolly outran Greg Anderson in the title round in April, but Anderson's team made a 180-degree turn and he'll clinch his third successive championship at this race.

"We  really need to make good runs Friday night and Saturday's first run and
try to  qualify in the top half of the field," Connolly said.  "We don't
want to be  racing one of the top four drivers in the opening round."
Adams  believes his car is capable of making it to the semifinals, at least,
when  Sunday eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
"I used to worry about  where we qualified," he said, "and now I worry about
just qualifying. I'm glad  this year is just about over."

He gets no argument from any SKULL GEAR team member on that comment.

The important qualifying sessions are scheduled at noon and 3:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

-jls-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Dave Connolly