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Possible End of Recent Splump Excites Connolly, Team Promising Results Boost SKULL GEAR Team's Confidence The transformation began on a sunny Sunday in Indianapolis. It was subtle, like a butterfly in flight. Yet the result sent a wave ...

Possible End of Recent Splump Excites Connolly, Team
Promising Results Boost SKULL GEAR Team's Confidence

The transformation began on a sunny Sunday in Indianapolis. It was subtle, like a butterfly in flight. Yet the result sent a wave of expectation and relief through the SKULL GEAR Pro Stock camp.

Dave Connolly's elapsed time in the final qualifying session prior to the U.S. Nationals' Labor Day eliminations was 6.743 seconds. While it didn't mean a much to those assembled at Indianapolis Raceway Park, it carried a lot of weight with crew chief Terry Adams and engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.

That time was second-quickest of the session, behind Greg Anderson's 6.704, but it jolted the team because it was their best competitive elapsed time in a long while. And it was a precursor of what transpired Monday.

It's also the reason Connolly and the Chevrolet Cobalt crew are excited about the upcoming Toyo Tire Nationals at Reading, Pa., Sept. 16-18."It seems like we've found something," said Connolly, who led the NHRA POWERade series standings early in the season only to fall to fifth (1115 points) when the team became mired in a slump. b^0x001cI'm looking forward to going to Reading, qualifying well and having lane choice on Sunday. That's something we haven't been able to say for a while. I think we'll actually have a shot at winning one of our last five races. We're in a better mood and we're looking forward to seeing how this one plays out."

Connolly's time in the first round at Indy was third quickest -- the 6.748 seconds better than everyone but Anderson (6.705) and Vieri Gaines (6.743). But it was Gaines whom Connolly defeated on the strength of a .008 second reaction time. Connolly lost to Anderson with a 6.762 in the quarter-finals and that time was No. 2 behind Anderson's 6.715.

"We went from being in the worst shape we've ever been in to going out and being the No. 2 car in two of the last three runs we made," added Connolly. "Everything goes in circles and hopefully our little stint in the valley is over and we can go up from there.

"We struggled quite a bit lately and we found a little bit of a problem in both the car and the motors. We tested well at Indy before the U.S. Nationals and that kind of straightened things out."

Connolly also will be driving his dad Ray's Super Gas Corvette in Sportsman competition at Maple Grove. Dave's first national event win came in a Super Comp dragster in Chicago in 2001.

"It's been a while since I've run the Sportsman categories and I'm excited about that," he said. "It's a fast car. I think it helps me drive better because it keeps me in a racing mode and keeps me sharper on the tree."

Plus it gives him the opportunity of becoming a double winner.

-jls-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Greg Anderson , Terry Adams , Dave Connolly