Indy champ Connolly felled by dodgy left lane, top qualifier Nobile
CONCORD, NC – Industrial Distribution Group (IDG) driver Dave Connolly was at his best again in an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. But that wasn't enough to overcome what seemed to be a poor track and No. 1 qualifier Vincent Nobile in the second round of Sunday's O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Connolly, the winner of the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway last weekend, had reaction times of .010 seconds in beating V. Gaines in the first round and .004 against Nobile.
But Connolly's IDG Chevy suffered the same fate as GK Motorsports teammate Erica Enders had in the first round and Shane Gray moments before Connolly's second-round run. Enders' car got loose and slipped around before she pulled her parachutes to get control of the car. Gray wasn't so lucky, as his car crashed after moving around in the left lane.
Connolly was up after Gray, and with poor track conditions, Connolly slid around, too, before pushing in the clutch to slow and regain control. All three were in the left lane.
"When they pull 1G lateral, that's moving pretty good down there," Connolly said. "It wasn't going to be very efficient on the centerline, so when they get to that point, you just throw in the clutch and save the car and bring it back the next week."
Connolly was hanging with Nobile until he slowed to a pass of 6.872 seconds at 169.32 mph, while Nobile went 6.620 seconds at 208.054 mph.
"It was going to be a good race, either way," Connolly said. "Can't say if I was going to win or lose. We both started up front pretty good. It was just one of those deals. You can't go back and change it now. We'll go on to Dallas."
Connolly won the U.S. Nationals on a holeshot, and then did the same against Gaines on Sunday. He left .035 seconds ahead, making a pass of 6.657 seconds at 209.04 mph that was slower than Gaines' 6.624 at 208.97 mph.
Connolly then left on Nobile, albeit .004 to .008.