Connolly loses, then wins in St. Louis
MADISON, IL – Industrial Distribution Group (IDG) driver Dave Connolly lost in the second round Sunday, but then won the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
How is that possible? As a Pro Stock driver, Connolly fell in the second round to GK Motorsports teammate Erica Enders. He then switched full time to his role with Tommy Utt as crew chief on Enders' Chevrolet and helped guide Enders to her fourth victory of the season.
"I got one up on her in Indy," Connolly said. "It didn't really matter much as far as points, and then she won in the Countdown (to the Championship). It couldn't have worked out any better than this. She moved up a spot in the points and is nipping on Jason (Line's) heels."
Connolly had beaten Enders in the finals of the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis earlier this month. After Connolly took out Ron Krisher in the first round with a pass of 6.563 seconds at 209.65 mph to Krisher's 6.601-second run at 210.21 mph, he lined up against Enders.
Connolly actually left first (.018-second reaction time to Enders' .024), but Enders' pass was quicker, 6.532 seconds at 211.73 mph to beat Connolly's lap of 6.566 seconds at 210.83 mph.
"It was a lot of fun," Connolly said. "Since I've been out here, we've been pretty fortunate, missing the ladder so we didn't have to run each other. It was bound to happen. She took full advantage of it from there on out and picked up the win. There's no looking back and saying there's anything wrong with this weekend at all."
Connolly's IDG Chevy showed improvement in performance at Gateway, as he qualified No. 5 here after being No. 15 in Indy, No. 8 in Charlotte and No. 9 in Dallas. He's slated to race one more time this season, next weekend's Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
"We've got to go back to work and find a little bit here and there. Jason and the KB guys picked up a little bit, and (Allen Johnson is) running as strong as ever. There are definitely no gimmes. We were just lucky and raced smart today."