HOUSTON (April 29)
Dave Connolly wore a smile after the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway, but it wasn't as bright as he wanted it to be.
In just his second Pro Stock race of the season, the KLR Group/Alamo Iron Works Chevrolet driver made it all the way to the final round before bowing to Vincent Nobile.
Connolly, a 22-time winner in Pro Stock, pulled off a .011-second reaction time in the final, .002 behind Nobile, going 6.604 seconds at 210.41 mph. Nobile went 6.595 seconds at 210.14 mph to nip Connolly by about three feet.
"It was a good race in the final. If we'd have gone .58 like we did in the semis, we'd be a winner today, but it just wasn't the case," Connolly said. Everybody we ran is a tough out. It's a game of thousandths. We learned that again here today."
Connolly was happy about the weekend, but he clearly wanted more. "Being competitive, you always want to walk away with a Wally," Connolly said. "When you don't it definitely takes the wind out of your sails, even with a runner-up. But it's nothing to hold our heads about.
"It was fun. You try to take advantage of every time we get out here. It got cut short in Charlotte and this will be the last one for a little bit. We were trying to take full advantage of it but it just didn't happen. It just wasn't meant to be."
Connolly returns to his role as crew chief for Enders next weekend at Atlanta Dragway for the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals on May 4-6. He is scheduled to drive again at Charlotte and Dallas later this year. And though he continues to be a part-time driver, he expects full-time results. "I expect to go out there and do well," Connolly said. "We've got good power, and we've got Tommy Utt back over here. I tried to do it round-by-round; I was hungry and drove decent today. It just wasn't enough."