Seattle: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly: Repeat win would boost playoff chances Dave Connolly's Playoff Drive Continues at Seattle Dave Connolly has encountered some challenging situations in his 113-race Pro Stock career -- and that doesn't include Sunday eliminations in...

Connolly: Repeat win would boost playoff chances
Dave Connolly's Playoff Drive Continues at Seattle

Dave Connolly has encountered some challenging situations in his 113-race Pro Stock career -- and that doesn't include Sunday eliminations in his ultra-competitive category.

For example, sponsor issues forced Connolly to sit out the first five races of 2008. Now he and his Cagnazzi Racing teammates are attempting to overcome the point deficit they incurred and insert themselves into the POWERade Series top 10 in the next five races. The Countdown to 10 portion of NHRA's playoff system sends the top 10 into the six-race title showdown.

The next stop on his point-gathering tour is Seattle, site of the Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Pacific Raceways in nearby Kent. Connolly and the crew have been on a mission for eight races, and they have five more opportunities before the field of contenders is trimmed to 10.

The numbers game looks like this -- Connolly is 11th with 512 points, 53 behind No. 10. The difference is three rounds of competition. However, he is only 17 points ahead No. 12.

Connolly is the defending champion at Seattle and acknowledges that his Charter Communications/LifeLock Chevy Cobalt must win some elimination rounds on Sunday to help the cause.

"We ran good at Seattle last year," he said. "That's what we need to do this year, too, especially after not performing like we should have in Denver (a first-round loss last Sunday)." It was the beginning of NHRA's traditional three-race Western Swing and the only stop in the tune-up challenging mile-high altitude.

"Right now, I'm not sure our power is where it needs to be," Connolly continued. "It's something all teams go through. We have to get back up to par where we can go out and run guys down.

I'm not driving strong enough to get hole shots on everybody, but everybody else is driving so tough anymore that I have to step up my game. I'm leaving a hundredth (of a second) on the table (at the starting line) and we're still sorting out the car. All of that stuff adds up pretty quick when you have a bunch of Pro Stock cars that are separated by thousandths of a second. Giving away a hundredth lets them catch up really fast."

Nevertheless, Connolly's performances have been quite impressive. He won once (Bristol, Tenn.) and was second twice (St. Louis and Englishtown, N.J.) in his first five races.

-credit: vcr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Dave Connolly