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CONNOLLY 'BULLS' HIS WAY TO NASCAR WIN AT HOLLAND

Before Saturday night, Tim Connolly was concerned that he hadn't won a NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour race on a "bullring" this season.

He isn't concerned any longer. Connolly won the Saturday's Sunoco 150 on just such a track -- Holland Speedway.

In racing language, a track that has a notably smaller circumference -- which causes tighter turns for the racers -- is referred to as a bullring.

Connolly has found success lately on all sorts of courses. His win Saturday was his third in the last four races on the Featherlite Tour. He won June 28 at Watkins Glen, a 2.45-mile road course, and then again on July 12 on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire International Speedway, a superspeedway.

"One of the things I've been a little frustrated with this season, and so has my crew chief, is that we won on a road course and on a superspeedway, which is great, but we hadn't yet got ourselves a win on a bullring short track," said Connolly, driver of the Ralston Purina/Tidy Cat Dodge.

"This spring, after about four races, I was frustrated that we hadn't won yet, period. Our team had a meeting and we raised the intensity level and it shows."

Connolly began the race from the pole and ran side-by-side with Tony Ferrante Jr., before Ferrante worked into the lead. Connolly returned the favor, racing to the top spot on lap 13.

Jan Leaty moved into second on lap 51, passing Ferrante with Charlie Pasteryak gaining third a lap later. Leaty passed Connolly for the lead on lap 66.

Leaty, running strong, paced the field for the next 30 laps but began to develop power steering problems. Connolly jumped back to the front on lap 96 as Leaty began to fade to an eventual 18th place finish.

Under a long stretch of green flag racing, Connolly built up a near half-track lead on Pasteryak. A caution flag with two laps remaining made no difference as Connolly sped away on the restart to the win with Mike Stefanik passing Pasteryak on the last lap for second.

Stefanik's performance was another interesting part of the Holland race. The current NASCAR Featherlite Tour points leader turned in a mediocre 14th place time in the afternoon time-trial qualifying session.

Then during the Sunoco 150, when the field was under caution, Stefanik had to pit on lap 29 for a flat tire. He returned to the back of the pack but charged back to gain his second-place finish. He left Holland with his points lead intact.

"We went out early in the time trials when it was raining and that killed us," Stefanik said. "Then in the race, we moved up to eighth or ninth and all of a sudden the car starting going away. I thought, boy, we're in trouble.

"Then we found out it was the right front (tire) going down and were fortunate to change it under caution. We ran hard to get back to second, I'll tell you that. We put on a show, but I'm tired and beat."

Pasteryak, Eddie Flemke and Chris Kopec completed the top five of Saturday's race. The Sunoco 150 was run in 46 minutes, 19 seconds and had only three cautions, lasting a total of 17 laps.

Connolly won the pole with a 12.868-second lap. Twenty-seven cars started the Sunoco.

Elsewhere, Lancaster drag winners Friday were: Sam Christian, Super Pro; Marc Volker, Super Gas; John Hayek, Pro; Barb Carlson, Street; Pat Vaughan, Bikes; and John McGowan, Sleds.

Buffalo Sabres' forward Rob Ray has been selected as Watkins Glen's Grand Marshal for the Aug. 10 "Bud At The Glen" Winston Cup race.

Blasdell's Andy Gregorie won a Division 3 NHRA Super Gas race two weeks ago in Ohio plus two Can-Am races, one in Canada and another in Leicester.

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