Richmond: Dave Connolly final report

Connolly Defeats Gaines in Final; Sweeps Pro Stock Countdown to Four RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 7, 2007 -- Dave Connolly won his fifth consecutive Pro Stock race Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park, putting his name in the NHRA annals alongside ...

Connolly Defeats Gaines in Final; Sweeps Pro Stock Countdown to Four

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 7, 2007 --  Dave Connolly won his fifth consecutive Pro
Stock race Sunday at Virginia  Motorsports Park, putting his name in the NHRA
annals alongside legendary  drivers Ronnie Sox and Bob Glidden and Greg
Anderson, one of his chief rivals  for the 2007 POWERade Series championship.
It was another perfect day at  the office for Connolly, this time in the
Torco Racing Fuels Nationals.   And, for good measure, he was perfect in NHRA's
four-race Countdown to Four  segment of the new championship series.  His 20
consecutive round wins  propelled him into the points lead for the Countdown to
One, a two-race format  that gets underway in Las Vegas, Oct. 26-28, and
concludes at Pomona, Calif.,  Nov. 1-4.

He is probably best described as "en fuego."

Connolly reached the record book by defeating V. Gaines in the title round with a workman-like 6.671-second, 206.95-mph performance to Gaines' 6.679, 206.92 effort before a packed house. It was his eighth win in nine 2007 final rounds, giving him 17 trophies in 29 finals.

During this  amazing streak, the driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels
Chevy Cobalt for  Victor Cagnazzi Racing has been cool and calm, methodically
driving what now is  the best-prepared car in the category to round win after
round win.  He  makes it look easy to the fans in the stands.
"Our success is all due to  the hard work our Torco Racing Fuels team is
putting in," Connolly said.   "All of us were at Maryland testing before this
race, trying to get  better.  We'll continue to keep doing that. We'll keep
plugging away to see  what the last two races bring us."
Connolly, 24, never envisioned himself  winning eight out of the first 21
events of the season, much less five in a  row.

"It is unbelievable, especially for as tough as this (Pro Stock) class is," he said. "Our Chevy Cobalt is mean. All the guys at Cagnazzi Racing are doing a good job, and we were able to get my teammate, Jeg Coughlin, into the final four, too. It is incredible what Evan Knoll and Victor have put together. It was a pleasure to win this one for Evan."

Connolly  had 2,525 points at the end of this segment to 2,391 for Anderson.
Coughlin was  third (2,246) and Allen Johnson fourth (2,238).  But the points
will be  reset at Las Vegas and Connolly will's advantage will be 10 points --
3,030 to  3,020 over Anderson. Coughlin will have 3,010 and Johnson 3,000.

"We are going to try to go out and continue what we've been doing for the last five races," added Connolly. "If everything works out, we'll be holding the big trophy at the end the year.

"To pick up our fifth win and  put us in that elite group with those guys is
incredible. It is something I  never even dreamed of.  I just wanted to race
Pro Stock and here we are  getting put on a list that is only four people long.
 It was definitely a  big win for us. Things are just clicking right now.  It
was nice to sweep  four races but there are still two races left and (winning
those) are our main  goal right now."
Cagnazzi, who started this team in 2003, said he was  "stunned and thankful
to God for choosing our team to bless.  This is  fabulous. Sweeping this part
of the Countdown is . . . wow! I'm  speechless."

-credit: ekr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Bob Glidden , Allen Johnson , Dave Connolly