CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
Ownership worries over, Connolly can concentrate on title chase
1. He made his professional driving debut in 2003; 2. He competed in the special King Demon Crown race in June 2004; 3. He and his dad Ray each won - Ray in Super Comp - at the October 2004 race.
So, call it kismet, coincidence or whatever, but there's another first for Connolly at the CarQuest Nationals, Friday through Sunday.
"This is the first time we will be running our Cobalt with Torco Fuels and Gear on the car," said Connolly of the new Evan Knoll Gas Motorsports team's sponsor.
Knoll, president and owner of Torco Fuels and Gear, completed purchase of the former Bullet Motorsports team from owner Mike Dzurilla Monday. Andy and Mark Carrier, owners of the Carrier Boyz Top Fuel team, recommended Connolly and the team to Knoll, who kept the team intact.
Thus a rather tumultuous two weeks ended for the former Bullet Motorsports team members. They were jolted when Dzurilla unexpectedly folded the team May 23.
Connolly is third in NHRA POWERade points with 647. He trails Warren Johnson (724) and Greg Anderson (711). Connolly, 22, has won twice this season and has five career victories. He also will be competing in the King Demon race on Saturday.
"We didn't know where we were going to be after our last race at
"We are proud that Evan Knoll saw what a great team we had. We would like to give him a championship."
Also making the switch to Knoll's team are crew chief Terry Adams, engine supplier Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and crewmen Brad Hall and John Utt.
"It's nice we are able to finish the year," said
"We're still working on our new car, and we'll be even better after we can get it figured out. We had 300 runs on our old car and just 20 runs on the Cobalt. We're learning something on every run."
Connolly and seven other drivers will be competing for the $50,000 King Demon first-place check. "We are excited to go racing," said Connolly. "We feel confident that we can perform well and possibly sweep both races." (That would add another first to the Route 66 list.)
Connolly, runner-up at last year's King Demon, qualified fourth and races Mike Edwards in the first round. Other pairings include: Greg Anderson vs. Kurt Johnson, Jason Line vs. Kenny Koretsky and Larry Morgan vs.
Connolly's runner-up at
The Carrier Boyz financed Connolly's team's trip to
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