Sonoma: Dave Connolly final summary

Connolly Beats Warren Johnson En Route to Semifinal Finish at Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. - Crew chief Terry Adams knew where the kudos should go Sunday afternoon after Dave Connolly drove the SKULL GEAR Pro Stock Chevrolet Cobalt into the semifinals...

Connolly Beats Warren Johnson En Route to Semifinal Finish at Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. - Crew chief Terry Adams knew where the kudos should go Sunday afternoon after Dave Connolly drove the SKULL GEAR Pro Stock Chevrolet Cobalt into the semifinals of the Fram Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway.

"The driver got us two round wins today . . . he made something out of nothing," said Adams.

This event was the conclusion of NHRA's annual western swing that began with stops at Denver (July 17) and Seattle (July 24). Connolly was runner-up at Denver, losing to Warren Johnson when he missed a perfect start by one-thousandth of a second. He came up short against Kurt Johnson in the first round at Seattle, then added two more rounds wins here.

On his starting line game as always, Connolly, the 12th qualifier, was first off the line in all three of his rounds Sunday. He began the day with an upset win over Johnson, the No. 5 qualifier. He then eliminated No. 4 Larry Morgan in the quarterfinals. Although he beat Kurt Johnson out of the gate in the semifinals, Johnson pulled away to a 6.722-second, 205.44-mph victory over Connolly's 6.804 at 203.74.

"I think Kurt was the only one who got more (POWERade Series) points than we did on the western swing," Connolly said. "We may not have been in the best starting positions but we still won rounds."

In his race against Warren Johnson - their first meeting since the Denver final - Connolly's reaction time was .038 of a second to .082, and the race was over almost before it started. Connolly stopped the clocks at 6.742 seconds, 204.32 mph to Johnson's 6.733 at 205.29.

"We got a little revenge on Warren," commented Connolly, who holds a 5-2 edge in head-to-head competition with WJ.

The SKULL GEAR driver had an even larger advantage against Morgan - .015 to .100 - and got the win light in 6.762 seconds at 204.42 to a quicker 6.743 at 205.47.

"We did have a little clutch problem today, but we'll have that fixed by our next race," Connolly said. "Hopefully by next race we'll get our horsepower back up to where it needs to be."

With 15 of 23 20005 POWERade Series events in the books, Connolly sits fifth in points with 1002. He's 95 points behind second-place Warren Johnson and 31 behind Kurt Johnson in third.

The team's next outing is at Brainerd, Minn. (Aug. 12-14), site of Connolly's first career Pro Stock triumph last year. He's won four more times, including twice in 2005.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Larry Morgan , Terry Adams , Dave Connolly