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Two championships in two weeks

This year was a year unlike any other for the Connelley Racing Team, from Salyersville, as they’ve always flirted with the idea of obtaining a couple of titles and go into the points race and get a championship, but this year they did more than flirt with the idea.

Martin Connelley told Mortimer Media Group it’s been a goal for a long time in their off-seasons to shoot for an NMCA or a NMRA championship, but there has always been a logistical roadblock stopping them each year, but they always kept it on the back burner. Until this year, that is.

The NMCA started in Orlando back in March and Connelley Racing was the number one qualifier in the first race, won the whole event and set a class record. With that win, they secured some cash and encouragement to keep them going, traveling next to Rockingham, St. Louis, Martin and Norwalk, finishing the season in Indianapolis the weekend before last. When the dust settled on the six-race series, Connelley Racing had been in the finals five times, won three races, were runner-up twice, for a total of 3,715 points, which put them 1,060 points ahead of second place, securing the 2023 NMCA Xtreme Street World Champions.

While competing for the NMCA title, they also made a run for the NMRA title, with the championship this past weekend in Bowling Green. Unlike the NMCA, they were going into the last race of this series two rounds behind the points leader, Martin’s friend and crewmate, who owns the engine in Martin’s car, both running Tony Bischoff motors, nitrous-fed beasts, both being a force to be reckoned with all season long.

Early on this past weekend, Connelley Racing was sitting in the number two spot with a number 458 after two rounds of qualifications. The next morning, they ran the third and final qualifier, heading into the eliminations in the heat of the day, their opponent broke, gave them a by, and they stuck a 4.63 in the eighth at 155 miles per hour on that by-run, one of only two cars to make the trip under full power that day. The other being Terry Wilson, the aforementioned buddy of Martin and points leader at the time.

For the second-round eliminations, the number two qualifier gets a by with an odd number of cars throughout the race. Martin was the number two, and this second round is where he got his by, but he didn’t take it easy even with the freebie. He ran this at 4.60 at 155 miles per hour, just a little quicker than the points leader, which gave him lane choice for the next round.

In the semi-finals, it was a pedal-fest, but Martin came out ahead, with only one more race to take home a second consecutive national title.

Martin told Mortimer Media Group, “In the finals, it came down to either if we lost the finals, Terry won the championship, and if we won the finals, we won the championship and the race. I really didn’t want to find myself in that position, but it went down like that.”

“It’s bittersweet, I guess,” Martin said. “I hated to see the championship won that way, but we did win the finals. We won the race and we won the even and we got down the race track in the finals. The other car spun and the track was really tricky today. It’s been a pretty good year and it’s a great way to cap it off.”

Martin said they’ve been coming to the Bowling Green event since they were teenagers and it was great to come back and win the race years later.

“It’s a lot of work that’s went into this the last 20 years getting to this point today, and we did it,” Martin said. “It’s been tough. It always is, but it makes the win worth it.”

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