Dave Connolly Beats Kurt Johnson to End Marathon Race; Now No. 2 in Points Dave Connolly had to wait until Wednesday to complete the waterlogged Toyo Tires Nationals, but he didn't mind one bit. He captured his fourth Pro Stock victory of the...
Dave Connolly Beats Kurt Johnson to End Marathon Race; Now No. 2 in Points
Dave Connolly had to wait until Wednesday to complete the waterlogged Toyo Tires Nationals, but he didn't mind one bit. He captured his fourth Pro Stock victory of the season, the 13th of his 99-race career, and climbed into second place in points going into NHRA's Countdown to Four phase of the title chase.
He defeated Kurt Johnson in the title round of the rain-troubled Toyo Tires Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway and was able to wiggle past Cagnazzi Racing teammate Jeg Coughlin to secure the No. 2 berth playoff berth. Connolly finished with 1,252 points to Coughlin's 1,231. Coughlin, ironically, was upset by Johnson in Monday's first round.
"It was well worth the wait," said Connolly, driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt. "I don't know what it is about these rain delays, but we always seem to do good. I've never won a race on a Wednesday before, but it was needed."
The impressive results serve as an excellent tune-up for the beginning of the next part of the Countdown that gets underway with the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Aug. 31-Sept. 3, at Indianapolis. Points will be reset, with Connolly starting at 2060, 10 behind series pacesetter Greg Anderson. Coughlin will have 2070.
Rain sent everyone home early Sunday before Connolly could make a first-round run. He got in two rounds of competition Monday -- beating Greg Stanfield and Craig Hankinson -- before rain resumed. Persistent showers kept everyone in the pits Tuesday.
When the wet stuff finally abated, Connolly eliminated V Gaines (6.634 seconds to 13.170). And then he evened his final-round record against Johnson to 2-2, starting with a near-perfect .005-second reaction time to a .050, and finishing it in 6.643 seconds at 207.34 mph to 6.857 at 206.80. He never looked back in giving Cagnazzi Racing its seventh triumph of the season. Teammate Jeg Coughlin has the other three.
Connolly did have a perfect .000-second reaction time in Monday's quarterfinal win over Craig Hankinson. It was his first and the second in the NHRA Pro ranks this season.
"Tommy (Utt, team crews chief) said going into this weekend -- make it this week -- that he wanted to gain some momentum going into Indianapolis, and we sure did that. Now we want to go back and go through everything to make sure we don't miss anything and get the cars ready for our return to Indy."