Allen Johnson Closing in on First Win of 2011
Mopar® Dodge Avenger NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson is on the verge of scoring his first win of the 2011 NHRA Pro Stock season. The native of Greeneville, Tenn. advanced to the semifinals for the first time this year last weekend at Atlanta and returns to action this weekend at Heartland Park Topeka in Kan., for the 23rd Annual NHRA Summer Nationals, May 20–22. Johnson won at Heartland Park in 2009 and has been the No. 2 qualifier in each of his last two visits to the track.
Johnson has found himself in the finals two years in a row at Heartland Park Topeka, facing veteran Mike Edwards in each of those final round appearances. Johnson scored the win over Edwards in 2009 and had a faster elapsed time and speed last season, falling to Edwards on a holeshot off the starting line.
“Going back to Topeka with this Mopar Dodge Avenger, knowing the success we have had in the past, certainly boosts our confidence,” said Johnson. “The track sometimes has bald spots and is slick on the starting line and when it has that, it seems like the cars that we have adapt a little better to that. We’ll go there and give it our all and hopefully our previous success will lead to more success. We have 10 years worth of notes from Topeka that we can refer back to.”
On his way to the win at Heartland Park Topeka in 2009, Johnson was victorious over Ronnie Humphrey, Warren Johnson, Greg Anderson and Mike Edwards. Last season en route to the finals, he downed Greg Stanfield, Anderson and Rickie Jones.
Johnson qualified for the first time at Heartland Park Topeka in 1999 in the eighth position. In 2001 he was the No. 3 qualifier, taking on John Nobile in the first round. Johnson’s team currently supplies Nobile’s son Vincent with Mopar HEMI® engines out of their J&J Racing shop. Johnson advanced to the semifinals for the first time at Heartland Park in 2004, defeating Larry Morgan and Jason Line.
The Team Mopar veteran heads to Topeka with momentum after moving up a spot in the NHRA Pro Stock standings to eighth following his semifinals appearance at Atlanta, where he was the No. 3 qualifier. Johnson has qualified among the top half of the field in five of six starts this season and has been ninth or better in all six events. He has been the No. 3 qualifier three times thus far in 2011, as he continues his strong qualifying efforts, which saw him wrap-up the 2010 campaign as the No. 1 Qualifier in four straight events.
“Our plan all year has been to work with this car and get it better and better, along with getting myself better and better,” noted the second generation driver. “To go to the finals this weekend at Topeka would be in our plans and what we are planning on. We have momentum and I feel like we have this Mopar Dodge Avenger 85 percent figured out. We like the feel we have right now and the position we are in. We’ll continue to work hard and everyone on this J&J Racing team is doing a great job.”