Connolly Drives Charter Communications Pro Stock Chevy to Runner-up Finish at St. Louis Layoff? What layoff? Dave Connolly didn't drive Sunday like he gave the rest of NHRA's Pro Stock category a five-race head start. His drive to a ...
Connolly Drives Charter Communications Pro Stock Chevy to Runner-up Finish at St. Louis
Layoff? What layoff?
Dave Connolly didn't drive Sunday like he gave the rest of NHRA's Pro Stock category a five-race head start. His drive to a runner-up finish in his second 2008 outing did, however, remind all his rivals that he is back.
After qualifying third for the O'Reilly Midwest Nationals before a lot of visitors from his new sponsor, St. Louis-based Charter Communications, Connolly showed why he won eight times last year, including this race, and is one of the category's top competitors.
He defeated Ron Krisher, Allen Johnson and Greg Anderson in workmanlike fashion to reach his 30th career title round, but a clutch problem at the starting line against Kurt Johnson foiled his chances of winning his 18th race.
The result was an uncharacteristically slow reaction time of .144 seconds, leaving Johnson with an advantage that couldn't be overcome. It did, however, produce Connolly's quickest and fastest run of the weekend in the Charter Communications Chevy Cobalt from Victor Cagnazzi Racing.
Johnson's 6.631-second elapsed time at 208.79 beat Connolly's 6.651 at 208.78.
Connolly called it an "interesting weekend; and it was fun," he said, "but basically it was a test session for us each round. We were putting a new clutch in the car every round. It was the weirdest day I've ever seen in Pro Stock, that's for sure."
The fifth-year pro took full blame for the slow start, although not one of his teammates agreed. "I screwed it up. I just let the car go through the (starting) beams and as soon as I went to stop it, the tree was on and I was just dead late. We could've run with Kurt . . . it was a win we should've had."
Connolly's quick reaction time (.039 to .088) led to a hole-shot win over Krisher, 6.668 to 6.641, and he followed with a .034 reaction en route to decision over Allen Johnson.
His best reaction of the day came against Greg Anderson (.004 to .052). A clutch problem affected Connolly's run and he slowed to 8.851 at 151.22 while Anderson aborted his attempt.
"All-in-all we were happy to take the three round wins and the runner-up for the second weekend out. We have to test before we go to Bristol (Tenn., May 16-18)."
Connolly now has 130 points and is 18th. Points will become important as he attempts to catch the pack over the next 11 races.