Mopar racer Johnson maintains No. 3 position
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In a wet and rain-delayed second day of qualifying at the 58th Annual NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Team Mopar® driver Allen Johnson held on to the third spot in qualifying on Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway in his Mopar Dodge Avenger NHRA Pro Stock car. Johnson enters final qualifying on Sunday with his eye on a class-best tenth No. 1 spot this season and second career pole at Indy.
Johnson, ranked first in the point standings, put up a pass of 6.639-seconds at 208.20 mph in the first qualifying session, which featured an hours-long delay due to the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, which brought intermittent rain showers to the Indianapolis area. Johnson’s run was the second quickest of the session. The second Pro Stock qualifying round under the lights was cancelled due to safety concerns regarding track conditions due to condensation and excess humidity.
Needing to merely qualify for the U.S. Nationals to earn the No. 1 position in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship Pro Stock playoffs and a 30-point bonus, the Team Mopar veteran tripped the timing lights with a 6.634/208.42 to take the third spot in the single qualifying session on Friday.
“We’re happy with the improvement we’re making, and we’re getting to test a little bit along the way too,” said Johnson, who has four wins on the season and is seeking the first Indy victory of his career. “We’re not trying to be too aggressive; we’re trying to learn stuff. That run (the qualifying session that was cancelled), we were going to get aggressive and try to take the pole. But if you’re in the top two or three cars each run, you’ve got to be happy.
“If we can keep the rain away, the first session tomorrow will be the best for the air (conditions), and also if the humidity will get out of here. That’s all we’re hoping for right now.”
On the NHRA’s decision to call the final Pro Stock qualifying round today, Johnson said, “It was the right call. All that fog on the windshield was on the track as well. Somebody was getting ready to put it on its lid and mess up a good race car.”
Johnson had plenty of Hemi-powered company at Lucas Oil Raceway, as six Dodge Avenger drivers are battling to make the 16-car field at Indy. Vincent Nobile, No. 2 on Friday in his Dodge Avenger, recorded a 6.660/207.43 today and remains in the second position. After a long layoff from Pro Stock, Richie Stevens Jr. continued his strong U.S. Nationals outing, maintaining his No. 7 qualifying spot with a 6.666/206.99 effort today.