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09112017 connollytsrWords Phil Hutchison/Photos V.A. Atkins & Phil Hutchison

With 13 NHRA national event wins along with Super Gas championship in 2009, U.S. Nationals Super Comp winner Ray Connolly has been to the Big Go before.

With a win here before in 2002 and such a winning record, it would be easy to dismiss another win for Connolly, but after the race he said how it felt to win another. “It’s still a thrill to win Indy. With the quality of the racers here, each round is a final round. I have not been doing all that great in Super Comp this year and to win Indy was just unbelievable.”

In the finals, Connolly was up against one of the best in the business. Edmond Richardson from Greenbrier TN who, like Connolly, had won Indy in the past along with 48 NHRA wins, so it was a battle of past winners to see who would be a repeat winner at the biggest race of the year.

At the green both had good reaction times with Connolly of the line second with a 0.016 light to Richardson’s slightly better 0.013. At the stripe Connolly edged Richardson with an 8.931 to an 8.937. The difference translated to about ten inches.

“Against Richardson I really had it in my head that I was going to make a good run,” Connolly said. “I knew I couldn’t out drive him and I wasn’t going to try and do that, Going down track I was thinking that I was going faster than I was and took a little off of it and as it worked out, I was going slower than I anticipated.”

In round four, Connolly was up against his brother-in-law Michael Jirousek and had one of his best races of the weekend. Jirousek was off the line with a 0.003 light and Connolly was right behind him with a 0.004. Connolly won the race with an 8.911 to Jirousek’s breaking out 8.889. “He was on the tree all weekend long and I wasn’t looking forward to racing him,” says Connolly. “But it worked out okay and it was fun racing him. We both knew that whoever won this round would get the bye to the semis so it was a very important round for us both.”

In his bye run Connolly took the tree and just cruised down the track to an 18-second run. “My bye run was Sunday morning and I knew the next round would be Monday afternoon with totally different conditions, so I just drove it down the track. I didn’t want to take a chance of breaking something.”

In the semis Connolly was up against one of the Division 3 regulars Rock Haas from Commerce, Michigan. “I actually thought the race against Hass was going the wrong way for me. I thought I missed the setup and was going really slow. He is usually pretty good and he’s in front of me and he went too fast.” Connolly won the race with an 8.912 to Hass’ too quick 8.841 setting up the final against Richardson.

The winning dragster was built by American Racing out of Ohio and is powered by a 615-cubic inch Chevy was prepped by APD Performance in Genoa, Ohio.

“I really have to thank the folks at American Race Cars, Mark, Travis, Brett, Denny, Tyler, Shelly, and Josh,” Connolly continued. “In addition, I’d like to thank Hoosier Tires, Moser, Bazell Race Fuels, AutoMeter, and APD for their engine and carb, Penske Shocks, K&N Filters, Wiseco Pistons, R&R Autobody in Brookpark OH, Sticker Punk.com, Circus Motor Sports, Jegs, Lucas Oil and my transmission guy Marco Abruzzi.  As far as friends and family I would like to thank my wife Elaine and sons Tim and Dave along with Jenny Folk who has been a huge supporter. In addition, I have to thank my crew at Indy, Craig Anderson and Mark Erickson.”

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