Sonoma: Dave Connolly preview

Connolly, SKULL GEAR Team Prepare to Bounce Back at Sonoma Power Infusion Could Help Return Them to Pro Stock Winner's Circle SONOMA, Calif. - Terry Adams watched Dave Connolly as the SKULL GEAR Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stock driver signed...

Connolly, SKULL GEAR Team Prepare to Bounce Back at Sonoma
Power Infusion Could Help Return Them to Pro Stock Winner's Circle

SONOMA, Calif. - Terry Adams watched Dave Connolly as the SKULL GEAR Chevrolet Cobalt Pro Stock driver signed autographs in the Pacific Raceways pit area Sunday in Seattle and shook his head.

"He doesn't have blood in his veins; he has ice in his veins when it comes to racing," the veteran crew chief said. "He's good."

Fifty races into his NHRA career, Connolly has built a reputation for his rapid reaction times. First off the starting line, the kid from Elyria, Ohio, has turned that skill into wins. Seven of his 24 POWERade Series round wins this season have come via a hole shot. Some, like his .005 light (.000 is perfect) Sunday in the opening round against Kurt Johnson, have provided only temporary advantages that soon dissipated. It was the third first-round setback for Connolly in 2005.

"We have problems under the hood," said Connolly, "and that hasn't been an issue for this team in a long time. Every team goes through it, it's just a shame it happened on the western swing. These are big races for us."

Last year, Connolly capitalized on the NHRA's traditional stops in Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif., by finishing second at Seattle and Sonoma. One race later, at Brainerd, Minn., he notched his first Pro Stock victory.

This year, he has a second at Denver to go with Sunday's result as the team prepares for the FRAM-Autolite Nationals, Friday through Sunday at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway.

Lack of horsepower has muted Connolly's early charge that produced two victories, one second and his first series points lead. He has been to six finals in 14 of the 23 2005 events.

One of engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins' power plants was shipped to his Malvern, Pa., shop after the Seattle race to be freshened and returned as soon as possible.

"With a few days at the shop, maybe Grump and his guys will be able to find more power and get the motor back to us in time for Sonoma," said Connolly. "Anything's possible."

Connolly qualified 15th at Seattle, his lowest starting position of the season.

"Racing is definitely an up-and-down sport," added Connolly, who won three times and finished third in points in 2004. "This is a lot more fun when it's up."

He's currently fifth in points with 930.

-jls-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Terry Adams , Dave Connolly