Mystic Missle Returns: Tim Connolly Bringing Iconic V4 To North-South Shootout

(Press release from North-South Shootout)

Tim Connolly will bring the legendary Mystic Missle to the North-South Shootout (Photo: Courtesy North-South Shootout)

The bright yellow number v4 Modified was a staple on the tracks in the northeast for many years.  With some of the biggest names in Modified racing behind the wheel, including Buggs Stevens, Donny Lia, Bobby Santos, Satch Worley, Tim Connolly and many more since the team was started in 1961 by Bob Garbarino, the car was a threat every time it hit the track.

Speaking of Tim Connolly:

Tim was always an athlete in high school, playing football, baseball, and any other sport he could fit into his schedule.  He grew up on Binghamton’s (NY) East Side, it appeared the North High Graduate was destined for a career on the gridiron, as he quarterbacked the Ithaca College Bombers to the Amos Alonzo Stagg bowl in 1980, winning E.C.A.C. Rookie of the Year honors.  A knee injury ended his football career, but Connolly didn’t “just sit around.”  He decided to get involved in racing and was fortunate to team up with veteran Indy Car Mechanic and Crew Chief Lew Parks, and together, formed a strong, solid racing team.

Over the years, Tim raced Street Stocks and Modifieds at Shangri-La Speedway and 1992 moved to the NASACAR Modified Tour in 1992 competing in 14 events in that first season of Modified Tour racing.  He joined forces with Bobby Fuller for the end of the 1994 and 1995 seasons.  He partnered with Garbarino from 1996 through the 2000 seasons. 

After the 2000 season Connolly stepped away from racing to be near some family members with health issues.  Sadly, his youngest brother, Michael passed away in August of 2002.  

With racing out of the picture, Tim focused his undivided attention to his businesses, his family, and especially his three sons’ sport careers, in which he was able to be fully active as a coach in Pee-Wee football, Little League baseball, A.A.U. travel basketball, and High School Varsity football.   His love for racing never ended.  He even competed in a NASCAR Grand National event at his “home track” of Watkins Glen International in 2012.

During his 22-year hiatus from racing for Bob Garbarino, the relationship between the owner/driver transcended racing.  Tim holds nothing but genuine admiration and the utmost respect for Mr. Garbarino.  The Garbarino family are very special people and truly have a special place in Tim’s heart.  

In May 2022, unbeknownst to Tim, his wife Cheryl, contacted Mr. Garbarino regarding the last V4 Mystic Missile that was sitting in his race shop in CT.  She explained to him how much it would mean to her, but even more so to Tim, if she could negotiate some sort of deal to purchase “that” car.  The deal was done, and Mr. Garbarino and two of his fellow crew members delivered the Mystic Missile to their home in Upstate, NY.

Cheryl Connolly said, “So now a new journey begins.  Where will it take Tim?  Knowing his love and passion for this sport, I know he will enjoy everything associated with the journey!”

I knew of Tim Connolly having seen him compete in NASCAR Modified Tour events.  I introduced myself to him and his crew at Evergreen Raceway for the “King of the Green” Modified event.  I was there trying to “drum up” interest from Modified teams for the 2022 North-South Shootout.  I pestered Tim and his crew till they agreed to bring the “old yellow car” to the NSS.    

The 20th Annual John Blewett III Memorial “North-South Shootout” presented by Puryear Tank Lines in Memory of Charles Kepley, will feature some of the biggest names in Modified Racing.  Coby, Hirschman, Blewett, the Myers Brothers, Civali and others.  Along with those names called when the drivers are introduced will be Tim Connolly, ready to climb abord the “Mystic Missile.”  That alone made the trip to Drums, PA worth the ride.

The NSS marks the biggest “double-header” event in the area.  Race fans will have a chance to see the Tour-Type Modifieds and the 602 Mods in the open wheel division and the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Cars and Pro-Late Models will contest their “Championship Night” as well with all the big-name Late Model drivers in the area.

For more information on the North-South Shootout and other Caraway Speedway events, check the Caraway Speedway website at or their Face Book page at Caraway Speedway. You can also call the speedway at 336-629-5803 and the staff will return your call.  The North-South Shootout can be found at




  2. I don’t know why Connolly isn’t burned into my brain as one of the really good drivers of his era he sure did enough to be there. 1996 to 1999 inclusive he had 7 wins but more impressive was he was in the top five 41% of the time. Against arguably the stiffest competition in the Tours history.
    Quite the year we’ve had with a number of former top drivers coming out of retirement to strap in once again with mixed results. Hopefully each came back with realistic expectations and enjoyed the experience.
    So how old in Connolly now like early 60’s. Not a fan of the senior citizen come back but whatever. I’m more impressed with all the work this takes to race in one event. Updating the car with very expensive components and I’d guess borrowing and engine? Couldn’t be building one could they? Testing, practicing, tuning, refining Connolly thinking all the time “what was I thinking” as he struggles to recover a bit of mussel memory. Beginning of a journey or a trip taken taken, enjoyed then a return home happy to have made the trip but glad to be home?
    Not a big field of cars at 24ish but certainly an eclectically interesting field. Should be the Hirschman/Heady show with perhaps a dash of Blewett we’ll see. Can’t find any streaming coverage that’s a concern. Racing America was erratic and cut back on tour modified events this year. No money to be made televising the North/South Shootout surprising seeing as how we have a number of modified fans up here in the Northeast. Dots are starting to connect in a way that indicates the expansion of streaming availability is past it’s peak.
    Burt Meyers acquitted himself nicely in the data collection device indefinite suspension appeal. Not appealing being disqualified from an event he admitted the device was in the car just appealing the indefinite suspension by SMART. In the end they got it right it seemed a bit heavy handed.

  3. The NSS will be televised by Pit Row TV.

  4. Wanda Earley says

    Just saw that car trailer on the highway. Had to look it up to see what it was and what’s it all about. Racing life is fascinating to me. What a beautiful story. Good luck with your next chapter in life.

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