NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals
Connolly eyes return to first place in points
Las Vegas, prerace: Asked if he's done well in his three previous visits to this thriving metropolis, Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly thought for a moment.
"Not a whole lot," he replied. "I lost at the blackjack table, and we lost at the track. We've never had any luck there. I hope we're due."
There are no other stops on the POWERade Series trail where one can make such comparisons, even though luck is a viable partner in winning hands and races.
Connolly, 22, gets another shot at winning at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals this weekend.
"I like racing at that track," the Elyria, Ohio, driver said. "Both lanes always seem to be the same. It's nice when they're equal."
The driver of Mike Dzurilla's Bullet Motorsports Chevrolet Cavalier has been consistent on The Strip's 1,320, reaching the second round in each of his appearances. That is not the reliability factor Connolly or the team prefers. They want to kick it up a notch or two.
One of NHRA's young drivers with "can't-miss" qualities, Connolly is one of four Pro Stock racers to win in 2005. The others are Allen Johnson, Jason Line, and Warren Johnson. Considering that just four drivers won races in 2004, led by Greg Anderson's record 15, this title hunt should be a lot closer than the last.
And don't be surprised if Connolly is in for the long haul.
Dzurilla surrounded Connolly with veteran help, including crew chief Terry Adams and legendary engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins.
Connolly has a victory and a runner-up finish, and he's in second place in the current POWERade standings after four of 23 races. His 315 points are 26 behind series leader Warren Johnson's 341 in a tightly bunched group that includes Line (294), Allen Johnson (248),
After qualifying a season-low 12th last week in
"If I'd staged the car better, maybe we would have gotten to the final," lamented Connolly. He left the line first, .052 to .071, but Johnson caught him before the finish line and won, 6.708 to 6.747.
"We made a pretty good run against
As it turns out, Connolly is comparable to them in the eyes of a
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