Richmond: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing Cobalt to wear special Lucas Oil Colors as he seeks repeat Virginia Nationals Pro Stock Victory Dave Connolly finds himself at the NHRA Pro Stock championship crossroads this weekend. The number of races remaining in...

Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing Cobalt to wear special Lucas Oil Colors as he seeks repeat Virginia Nationals Pro Stock Victory

Dave Connolly finds himself at the NHRA Pro Stock championship crossroads this weekend. The number of races remaining in the Countdown to the championship has dwindled to three while his rounds behind the leader stay the same.

"Now it's going to take quite a feat for us to overcome five rounds in three races, but we've gone on streaks like that before," said Connolly as he prepared for the Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, near Richmond. "We'll just try to stick our Chevy Cobalt into as many winner's circles as we can."

Maybe a different look to that Cagnazzi Racing Cobalt will help.

As part of a new marketing alliance between Charter Communications and Lucas Oil, Connolly will be sporting Lucas Oil colors as the primary sponsor of his Chevy Cobalt for the Richmond race.

"The new program offers Lucas Oil an opportunity to expand its reach and exposure beyond the quarter-mile asphalt through direct broadcast of 30-and 60-second Team Lucas TV commercial advertising spots directly into 5.9 million Charter Cable households," said Cagnazzi. "All of us at Cagnazzi Racing are extremely excited about the partnership with Forest and Charlotte Lucas and the potential of the new marketing alliance and the platform for their iconic brands."

Likewise, Lucas Oil Products enjoys this new relationship with Cagnazzi Racing and the business venues it enhances with Charter Communications.

"That certainly gives us a good chance of getting a Lucas Oil car in the winner's circle," said Forrest Lucas, CEO and president of Lucas Oil Products. "Dave Connolly is have a pretty good year and I love the paint job. It's exciting and a big deal. We've helped them out and they're doing us a favor back by putting out the Lucas Oil/Charter Pro Stock Chevrolet this weekend." The spots started airing in mid-September on national cable networks CNN, HLN, Fox Sports, Fox News, ESPN, ESPN2, Headline News, CNBC, USA, History Channel, Speed Channel and TNT and will run throughout the rest of the fourth quarter.

"That's a neat deal for us, Charter Communications and Lucas Oil," Connolly said. "It's cool because the Lucas' supported us in the Sportsman ranks when I was racing Super Comp and Super Gas and they still support all the Sportsman racers. For me to represent them in the pro ranks now is very cool. It would be neat to be able to pick up a win for them."

Connolly, meanwhile, knows what he must do to get that winning trophy.

"Obviously, I have to get out there and concentrate, get focused and drive good," he said. "We want to go out with a bang and win the next three races -- starting with Richmond. We won at Richmond last year. We've won at Las Vegas before and at Pomona (Calif., the remaining stops on the 2008 POWERade Series schedule), so we've been to the winner's circle at all three tracks."

Still disappointed with his quarterfinal exit at Memphis almost two weeks ago, Connolly said he "had the car to win and we dropped the ball. I kind of shot myself in the foot last week when you look at the big picture. If we'd just gotten by that round we could've been within a round and a half of the leader and looking at the championship a little differently."We'll try to start off fast at Richmond."

Connolly is sixth with 2,183 points after three of the six playoff events. He trails the leader, Cagnazzi Racing teammate Jeg Coughlin, by 94 points (five rounds).

Rallying is nothing new for this 25-year-old Pro Stock veteran. He was down five races when his 2008 campaign started and still finished sixth in the regular season. He notched three wins in seven final rounds -- going to the finals at four consecutive events in one stretch. Overall, Connolly has 20 victories in 36 finals as he nears the close of his fifth full Pro Stock campaign. He placed third in 2004, 2006 and 2007 and was fifth in 2005.

"Whether we win the championship or not, we are still trying to keep ourselves up there in points," Connolly said. "We definitely want to finish in the top five again. We've never finished worse than fifth in points. Even though we started this year five races down, we were lucky to get into the Countdown to even have a shot at the championship . . . so I guess we need to be pleased by that."But, in all reality, we're drag racers and we're so competitive that we always want more than what we have."

-credit: vgr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Dave Connolly