NHRA Pro Stock champion crew chief Dave Connolly is the newest member of Ken Black Racing and Team Summit.
Connolly helped guide Tanner Gray to the Pro Stock championship last year, and after several years of competing with Greg Anderson, Jason Line, and the rest of the KB Racing team, he has decided to join them.
“I’m excited for this opportunity,” Connolly said. “I’ve butted heads with the KB team for a lot of years but we’ve always had a mutual respect for each other. When the [Gray Motorsports] program ended last season, I wasn’t sure where I was going to go or what I was going to do but we were able to work out a deal with KB and I think that’s a perfect fit. They have expanded their team and with that, the work load has gone up and they were in need of an extra set of hands. I’m happy to be able to fill that role.”
Connolly will be working side by side with KB Racing crew chief Rob Downing.
In addition to the Chevy Camaros piloted by Anderson and Line, KB Racing also includes the Chevys campaigned by 2017 Pro Stock champion Bo Butner, Deric Kramer, and Fernando Cuadra.
All told, KB Racing has a total of eight NHRA Mello Yello Series championships and 149 Pro Stock event wins.
“Our team is a little different than most of the others in that we operate as one group with everyone working on the same thing,” Downing said. “Dave will be working with me, Greg, and Jason, and we’ll be working together to make all of the KB Racing cars perform as well as possible. It will be just like it has been, only with an additional person.”
Connolly has spent many years in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock category. In fact, Connolly’s first career win came over Greg Anderson at Brainerd International Raceway in 2004.
“It’s funny how things happen in the racing world,” Connolly said. “For a while there, if you would have walked through the NHRA pits at any given race, I don’t think you could have found a person that was a fan of both KB Racing and me. It would have been either one or the other. But we always got along great and had a mutual respect for one another. It was quite a ride competing against those guys, and I can tell you that Greg Anderson was the one giving me my lickings when I first started racing Pro Stock.”
Anderson welcomes Connolly with open arms as part of the team.
“We think Dave will be a great addition to KB Racing,” said Anderson, the 91-time national event winner and four-time Pro Stock champion. “He brings a lot of experience to the table, especially these last couple of years as Tanner’s crew chief. We’re excited to have him on board, and we believe he’ll work well with Rob. That was important to us. Rob has run this ship the last 15 years, so it had to be the right fit. We’re looking forward to working with Dave, and we’ll be putting him right to work at the test session in Phoenix ahead of the Winternationals.”
“Dave has proven talent both as a driver and as a crew chief, and he has a similar mentality to ours,” Downing said. “It’s all about the racing for us, and it’s the same for Dave. We feel like we can get a good working relationship going pretty quickly with him. We’ve known him for a long time, and he’s always been a good guy to be around—other than when he was beating us.”
With the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals just a few days away, Connolly won’t have much of a honeymoon period. The race begins February 7 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA.