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Keeping Pace

Team Mopar driver Johnson is ready to ‘work overtime’ for victory

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Allen Johnson is getting restless. The Pro Stock drag racer has yet to visit the winner’s circle in 2009.

Courtesy: NHRA Media Relations

Topeka, Kan.NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson is getting restless. The Team Mopar® drag racer has yet to visit the winner’s circle in 2009 — a circumstance that doesn’t sit well with the Greeneville, Tenn., native. Johnson will attempt to get the job done this weekend at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals.

Johnson’s impatience follows a valiant effort two weeks ago in the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at his home track of Bristol Dragway. Despite using a makeshift front end necessitated by a crash suffered during testing, Johnson qualified No. 5 in Bristol and advanced to the quarterfinals. He also moved from sixth to fifth in the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock points standings. But those small victories were cold comfort for Johnson, who is focused on raising an NHRA Wally trophy in triumph — and as soon as possible.

“We had a few minor issues still lingering from the wreck,” said Johnson. “We stayed two days afterwards at Bristol and tested and really worked our butts off to get this stuff out of our system. We need to be winning races. My patience is about done. We’re working overtime.

“Any time you can do that [move up in the standings], it’s good. But we need to be going to the semifinals right now and get back up in the top four and win some races.”

A bright spot for Johnson has been his continued consistency in qualifying. The Mopar HEMI®-powered pilot has qualified in the top half of the Pro Stock field in seven of eight NHRA events thus far. Johnson said any remaining issues with the front end of his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T will be resolved prior to Topeka, putting him in perfect position to qualify high in the field, maintain lane choice, and seize his sixth career Pro Stock win.

“Our Mopar Pro Stock car went to the body shop last week,” said Johnson. “The front end was fitted to our car correctly and the correct Mopar paint scheme was applied. The car will be back to normal at Topeka. The track is an altitude track like Bristol, where you’re not making a lot of horsepower. The track is really awesome. I think what we learned testing at Bristol last week will pay dividends at Topeka.”

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.