Qualifying comes together for Indy winner Connolly
MADISON, IL – Industrial Distribution Group (IDG) driver Dave Connolly accomplished one goal in the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park this weekend. Now, he'll gun for another.
Connolly wanted to improve the performance of his GK Motorsports, and he did by earning the No. 5 qualifying spot. With teammate Erica Enders qualifying fourth, the team has two cars in the top five.
"We've definitely got it a little bit better," Connolly said. "I feel like I've got a race car again, for sure. Both cars are making consistent runs."
Connolly, who serves as crew chief with Tommy Utt on Enders' Chevy, had a best lap of 6.527 seconds at 211.99 mph. The No. 5 spot was Connolly's best in the last four races and a marked improvement over his No. 15 qualifying spot at Indianapolis, a race he won.
But Connolly, who has one victory and two finals in five races this year, knows winning again won't be easy.
"We didn't hit the ladder as well we would've liked," Connolly said. "All these cars are so close. It looks like everybody is starting to pick up. Jason (Line) and the KB guys have picked back up, (Mike) Edwards made a nice run that last run, and all the drivers look like they're pretty hungry on the starting line. It's one of those days tomorrow that anyone can win. We'll just have to see how the cards fall."
Connolly faces No. 12 qualifier Ron Krisher in the first round Sunday, with Krisher earning that spot with a pass of 6.558 seconds at 211.20 mph.
"Krisher is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you'll get," Connolly said. "He can go up there and do double-ohs just as good as he can do .100s. You just go up there and try to do your thing and make a respectable run, and hopefully the win light comes on."
Connolly won at Gateway in 2007 and reached the final in 2008.
"I've always liked this track," Connolly said. "It's kind of like Chicago. I've had a lot of luck here, and I've got that comfort zone. That plays a big part."