– Each point accumulated represents another step towards the Championship title for Mopar Dodge Avenger NHRA Pro Stock driver and current points leader Allen Johnson. The 17-year Team Mopar veteran took exactly six more important steps towards securing that elusive first Pro Stock championship, racking up the most bonus points possible and seizing the provisional pole following the first two rounds of qualifying for the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday.
“Starting off the weekend, our goal was to get every little point we could and hopefully get that round away from 80 (points ahead), so when we were able to accomplish that today I feel like today was very successful,” said Johnson, who will seek a class-best 11th No. 1 Qualifier spot of the season on Saturday. “We’re setting out to do our own deal and be the number one car every single run and put ourselves in a position on Sunday to win.”
V. Gaines, looking for back-to-back wins after taking his Dodge Avenger to victory at the most recent NHRA event in Reading, Pa., had a strong first day at Vegas. The favorite son of Lakewood, Colo., clocked a best run of 6.639/208.30 to secure the preliminary No. 6 position.
Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger pilot Jeg Coughlin Jr., looking to keep the momentum rolling from a semifinals appearance at Reading, drove his HEMI-fueled machine to the provisional eight spot on the starting grid on the strength of a 6.647 effort. Young superstar Vincent Nobile, who also runs with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Allen Johnson’s J&J Racing team, ended the day in No. 9 spot thanks to a 6.649 ET. A weight issue resulted in the nullification of Nobile’s first qualifying attempt.
At No. 11 with a 6.665-second ET, Chris McGaha made it five Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger machines inthe top twelve at Vegas. Part-time Pro Stocker Deric Kramer (6.690), listed at No. 14, wasn’t far behind,
Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps are locked in a tight battle for the championship, with only 23 points separating the pair of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates. The close fight was mirrored in the qualifying charts, as current points leader Beckman took his Dodge to the No. 4 spot with an ET of 4.093-seconds, while Capps was one berth behind, claiming the provisional fifth position with 4.098 ET.
Dodge Charger pilot Johnny Gray (4.123), fourth in the standings, will head into tomorrow’s qualifying sessions in the tenth position, while the fourth member of the DSR Dodge gang, Matt Hagan, posted his Mopar 15th.
Paul Lee (No. 17, 4.282), Josh Crawford (No. 18, 4.706) and Tommy Johnson (No. 20, 8.890) rounded out the Dodge Charger drivers attempting to make the fiercely competitive field at Vegas.