DAVE CONNOLLY SCORES HOMETOWN PRO STOCK VICTORY IN SUMMIT NATIONALS Dave Connolly turned his return to his hometown area into a large victory celebration Sunday when he captured the first Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Pro Stock title at...
DAVE CONNOLLY SCORES HOMETOWN PRO STOCK VICTORY IN SUMMIT NATIONALS
Dave Connolly turned his return to his hometown area into a large victory celebration Sunday when he captured the first Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Pro Stock title at Summit Motorsports Park.
Connolly, a native of Elyria, Ohio, who grew up watching races and racing at the former Norwalk Raceway Park some 30 miles from his home, drove Evan Knoll 's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt to his second win of the season and 11th of his career just like he owned the track.
He qualified fourth but set the tone for eliminations by running the weekend' s quickest elapsed time, 4.628 seconds at 207.59 mph, in defeating Warren Johnson in the first round. Connolly, 24, went on to beat Greg Stanfield (6.651 at 207.24 to 6.709 at 205.16), and his Victor Cagnazzi teammate Jeg Coughlin in the semifinals (6.684 at 207.05 to 11.344 at 72.42) before stopping fellow Ohioan Larry Morgan in the title round (6.660 at 207.11 to 6.718 at 205.54).
"It was a tough win all the way around and well deserved for (crew chief) Tommy Utt," said Connolly. "He's given me a great race car for months now and we finally took advantage of it. At the last few races we always seemed to have electrical problems but we always seemed to get them fixed before first round.
"Winning here definitely means a lot to me. I had cousins, grand parents, a lot of friends and family come out to watch me. That was probably the biggest winner's circle picture I've had taken. I think they had to get the wide-angle lens out for it.
"I don't think I missed a week not coming to this track from the time I was 10 until I was 17, so to come back and go out and perform like we did and win the race is just icing on the cake. It was a picture-perfect weekend."
With the win, Connolly solidified his hold on third place in NHRA POWERade Series points. He has 775, three rounds (60 points) behind Coughlin with 12 of 17 races in the Countdown to Eight portion of the championship chase.
The 13th event begins Friday at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, the third of six straight races.