Dave Connolly wants to get the win for dad at Bristol Dragway

Discussion in 'NHRA Headlines' started by John Kernan, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. DENVER, N.C. (June 11, 2014) – The electricity surrounding this weekend's 14th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals is palpable. For every driver in NHRA's Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, a win at one of the most scenic and talked about racetracks on the tour is at the forefront of their thoughts, but for Gray Motorsports Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly, a win in his Charter Communications Chevrolet Camaro is more than a hopeful goal; it is a very special wish as the event falls on Father's Day weekend.

    "Drag racing has always run in the family," said Connolly. "My grandpa, uncles, everyone raced – but my dad, Ray Connolly, has carried a big passion for drag racing. He still races as much as time and work will allow to this day. My dad is definitely one of the main reasons I started racing."

    At 10 years of age, Connolly virtually lived at the dragstrip on the weekends with his father. While his father worked on the racecar, young Connolly would help in the garage or at the racetrack, and he would cheer on his dad as he went rounds.

    Returning to Bristol Dragway to compete for the title is also extra special for Connolly as he recalls one of the most momentous victories of his own career. In 2008, Ray Connolly won the Bristol title in Super Gas and shared the winner's circle with his son Dave, who claimed the Pro Stock crown. It was not the first time the father and son had doubled up at an NHRA national event, however – in fact they have done it three times with shared wins in Chicago in 2004 and St. Louis in 2007.

    "It's special to have had the opportunity to double up three times with my dad," said Connolly, who has reached the semifinals three times this year and was the No. 1 qualifier in Gainesville. "He isn't racing this weekend, but being that it's Father's Day and he is the main reason I'm drag racing, it would be huge to get the win for him. It would really mean a lot to me.

    "I was very fortunate because when I first started racing and could get on a weekly program, my dad put his racing on the backburner so that I could start my career. We could only afford one racecar, and I think that says a lot about him. My dad has always been my number one supporter and fan throughout my career, and I definitely would not be where I am today without him."

    Although he won't be running for the trophy at Bristol Dragway this weekend, Ray's racing is no longer on the backburner, and he recently was awarded a coveted spot on the JEGS Allstar roster. The nationally acclaimed Allstars event will take place in Chicago later this month.

    "My dad is insane about drag racing, even more than I am," said Connolly. "But we both love it. A passion for racing is definitely something that we have shared for a very long time."

    From: Kelly Wade

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