Going rounds the goal for Johnson
GREENEVILLE, TN – All season long, Team Mopar® NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson has had a pretty simple approach — be consistent, go rounds and let the points fall where they may. That mantra will remain intact heading into the final two rounds of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Johnson, the current points leader, continues his bid for his first Pro Stock title as he returns to the track this week in the 12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 25-28.
“Las Vegas is a track I’ve always enjoyed racing at, and I’m really looking forward to this week’s event,” said Johnson. “We’ve always had a pretty good setup and notes for Vegas and have run well there over the years. Having won there earlier this year definitely boosts our confidence going back for the second time.”
Johnson has claimed a career-high five NHRA event wins this season and scored his first victory of the 2012 campaign in his Mopar Dodge Avenger at Las Vegas in April. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., won in a Mopar vs. Mopar matchup in the final against teammate Vincent Nobile, who uses HEMI® engines supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing shop. Johnson has reached the final round at Las Vegas in two of his last three starts at the venue and has advanced to at least the semifinals five times.
“We tested at Las Vegas last weekend, which I think helped quite a bit,” said Johnson. “That’s a track that we have tested at a lot at over the years. I would say behind Denver, we have tested the second-most at Vegas. Usually all of that prep work helps you be more prepared, and most times pays off.”
The Team Mopar veteran has been near the top of the Pro Stock class in qualifying all season, leading the way with 10 No. 1 Qualifier awards, including six in a row at one point. Johnson has started the weekend sixth or better in qualifying at each of the 21 events contested thus far in 2012. At Las Vegas in the spring, he began his march to the win as the No. 3 qualifier.
“We are really focusing on each run in qualifying and on Sunday in eliminations, and just taking it round-by-round,” said Johnson. “That’s the approach that has gotten us to where we are right now and we aren’t going to change that. If you’re successful in those rounds, you’ll be successful in the points.”
Johnson opened the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs as the No. 1 seed, has been on top of the standings following each of the first four rounds, and currently holds an 82-point advantage on his nearest competitor. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., has advanced to the final round in three of the first four races of the Countdown, winning in the second round at Dallas.