Like Father like Son or like Son like Father, either way you look at it, if your last name is Connolly you've had some great successes in NHRA competition once again during the 2011 season. Ray Connolly recently added another notch to his ever-growing win column when he outdrove anyone who showed up in the opposite lane in Super Comp to take the NHRA Div 2 Wally during the event at Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds, Georgia.
Ray Connolly grabs NHRA Div 2 Super Comp Win at Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds, Georgia.
After a little rain on Thursday, when teams first arrived at the track, Connolly notes that the weather for the remainder of the race was beautiful. "It stormed pretty good when we first got there, so I was in no hurry to unload. After that, a little chilly at night, but it was really comfortable and sunny for racing during the day."
Ray competed at the event in both his K&N Super Comp dragster and his Super Gas Corvette Roadster that he won a divisional event with earlier this season at Beech Bend. While he didn't make it to another final in the Corvette, he did manage to put a few more rounds under his belt, before bowing out to George Caheely in round three.
This race would be his time to shine in Super Comp, although he wasn't very pleased with some aspects of his driving. "I wasn't very good on the tree," he laughed. "But I was driving the finish line good, so everything seemed to work out. At that track, it's a little touchy at certain times of the say in the way the sun hits the tree. Not to use that as an excuse. When I didn't hit the tree, well neither did the guy in the other lane, so it all worked out well."
"It wasn't pretty," he added of his elimination rounds with a chuckle. "But it all pays the same."
Connolly started off elimination rounds in his borrowed K&N/Dart American dragster [owned by Mark Horton] by sending home Houston, Roberts and Sheldon before meeting up with Duane D'Agostino in round four. As Connolly has pointed out, when he wasn't at his best on the tree, the other guy wasn't either and in this case, D'Agostino went way red, sending Connolly on to match up with Deborah Bogle in the Super Comp quarter finals.
"When I ran Debbie, she was like double-oh and I just completely missed it," he admitted. "I was sixty-three. I went down there [top end] and it was just easy. I mean there was no way I was catching her and I just got out of it and hoped my win light came on. It was just that simple."
Now moving on to the semifinals, next Connolly would face Brad Plourd. "That was a really good race," he pointed out. "It came down to two-thousandths at the finish line. Brad had been on the tree all day. He is always tough."
Connolly might be a little too hard on himself concerning his reaction times during eliminations, since he did use a nice .016 light and a 8.928 to Plourd's .008 ad 8.938 to seal the deal at the stripe by taking only seven inches and safely on his way to the championship round.
For the Super Comp final, he would match up with Frank Altilio, who only took the tree during his bye the previous round and didn't make a pass down the track. Neither driver had a light to write home about, but when it came down to it, they were only separated by one-thousandth of a second and the advantage was Connolly's. The former NHRA Lucas Oil World Champ put together another great driving job at the stripe, taking only inches for a .008 margin, the Super Comp Wally, all while adding more to his points for 2011.
"It was a really fun weekend," he said. "I have run that race from time-to-time and while it was great to win in Super Comp, I had gone there hoping to do well in the other car. I was trying to get a few more points in Super Gas to remain in the top ten nationally. I knew with not doing as well as I had hoped to there in Super Gas, I could easily get bumped out with the races that were left on the west coast."
Still a fantastic NHRA season for Connolly, who currently holds the number eleven spot nationally in Super Gas and number three in his home division standings. Thanks to this recent win, he also sits strongly at number four on the divisional level in Super Comp.
While Connolly's NHRA points season may be completed, he has one more race on his agenda before hanging it up for the year. He plans to return to Georgia to compete in a big money four day bracket race the first weekend of November at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
With 2012 fast approaching, Connolly already has a new American car on the way and is excited about finally being able to add a K&N Composite Scoop to his new ride. "All my cars have used and will continue to use K&N oil and air filters," he said. "Being able to add the K&N carbon fiber scoop to the new car, it's pretty neat. We've heard so much about it and it will be a super addition to the new dragster. We're looking forward to getting some of that instant bolt-on horsepower that others are experiencing with their K&N scoops."
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