Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals
Connolly sweeps Countdown to Four with fifth straight
It was another perfect day at the office for Connolly, this time in the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals. And, for good measure, he was perfect in NHRA's four-race Countdown to Four segment of the new championship series. His 20 consecutive round wins propelled him into the points lead for the Countdown to One, a two-race format that gets underway in
He is probably best described as "en fuego."
Connolly reached the record book by defeating V. Gaines in the title round with a workman-like 6.671-second, 206.95-mph performance to Gaines' 6.679, 206.92 effort before a packed house. It was his eighth win in nine 2007 final rounds, giving him 17 trophies in 29 finals.
During this amazing streak, the driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt for Victor Cagnazzi Racing has been cool and calm, methodically driving what now is the best-prepared car in the category to round win after round win. He makes it look easy to the fans in the stands.
"Our success is all due to the hard work our Torco Racing Fuels team is putting in," Connolly said. "All of us were at
Connolly, 24, never envisioned himself winning eight out of the first 21 events of the season, much less five in a row.
"It is unbelievable, especially for as tough as this (Pro Stock) class is," he said. "Our Chevy Cobalt is mean. All the guys at Cagnazzi Racing are doing a good job, and we were able to get my teammate, Jeg Coughlin, into the final four, too. It is incredible what Evan Knoll and Victor have put together. It was a pleasure to win this one for Evan."
Connolly had 2,525 points at the end of this segment to 2,391 for
"We are going to try to go out and continue what we've been doing for the last five races," added Connolly. "If everything works out, we'll be holding the big trophy at the end the year.
"To pick up our fifth win and put us in that elite group with those guys is incredible. It is something I never even dreamed of. I just wanted to race Pro Stock and here we are getting put on a list that is only four people long. It was definitely a big win for us. Things are just clicking right now. It was nice to sweep four races but there are still two races left and (winning those) are our main goal right now."
Cagnazzi, who started this team in 2003, said he was "stunned and thankful to God for choosing our team to bless. This is fabulous. Sweeping this part of the Countdown is . . . wow! I'm speechless."
For the record, Connolly opened competition by eliminating Ron Krisher (6.661 at 207.15 to 6.880 at 205.57), Max Naylor (6.657 at 206.80 to 6.689 at 205.07) and Richie Stevens Jr. (6.647 at 207.66 to foul).
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