Team Mopar Driver Johnson Goes to Quarterfinals at Vegas;
Nobile Scores First Final-Round Appearance
Las Vegas, Nev. (April 3, 2011) – For the second time in the first three events of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, Mopar® Dodge Avenger Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson saw his day end at the hands of teammate and fellow Mopar-powered driver Vincent Nobile. Johnson scored his first round win of the season before falling in the quarterfinals of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals to the young Nobile, who went on to record a runner-up finish in his first career final-round appearance.
Johnson qualified No. 3 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his Mopar Dodge Avenger and had lane choice in his first-round match against Kurt Johnson. Allen posted a 6.713-second elapsed time at 205.41 mph with a .022 reaction time to defeat Kurt Johnson, but lost lane choice for the second round. The rookie Nobile, competing with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Allen Johnson’s J&J Racing team, motored to the quarterfinals win with a 6.703/205.85 run paired with a .017 reaction time to AJ’s 6.737/206.29 pass on a .032 reaction time.
“Lane choice, lane choice, lane choice,” said Allen Johnson. “It got us at Gainesville and it got us here. We’re starting a little slower than we did last year, but we’re maturing into it as a team. We’re having informational meetings each morning and we’re gaining on it. We got our first round win today and I feel confident that we’re back on track. I feel confident that we’ll go to Charlotte and do well.
“The kid (Nobile) is doing great. It’s a joy to watch him do well, and it feels good to have our Mopar/J&J engine in the final round. I think in the next couple of races if we can get on opposite sides of the ladder, you’ll see us both in the finals. If we can both get up there in the top five, it’ll start to get fun.”
Nobile defeated Warren Johnson with a 6.694/205.60 run in the opening round prior to his Mopar vs. Mopar battle with AJ. He then unleashed a powerful 6.697/205.88 pass from the inferior right lane to best Greg Stanfield (who also redlighted) in the semifinals. Unfortunately for Nobile his stellar run wasn’t enough to claim lane choice against final-round opponent Mike Edwards. Nobile, per usual, was quicker off the line in the final with a .019 reaction time to Edwards’ .030, but the veteran eventually ran down the rookie. Nobile’s 6.713/205.69 effort wasn’t enough to best Edwards’ 6.695/205.98 pass. Edwards' margin of victory: about seven thousandths of a second, or approximately two feet.
Lane choice, lane choice, lane choice.
“This is a dream come true to make it to a final,” said the 21-year-old Nobile, who advanced to a final round in just his third career Pro Stock start. “I really can’t thank Nick and Irene Mitsos enough and the entire Mitsos family from Mountain View Tire. I can’t thank Mopar enough, a great organization. It’s just real exciting for the whole Mountain View Dodge Avenger team.
“It makes me feel really good to be competitive in Pro Stock, knowing the field is so tight. Racing with these legends, Allen Johnson, Warren Johnson, all these guys, it’s just really cool to do well.”
V. Gaines, the third Mopar Dodge in the Vegas field, also enjoyed a solid outing, advancing to the semifinals in his first start of the year. Gaines surprised No. 4 qualifier Ron Krisher on a holeshot win in the first round with a near perfect .004 reaction time, then knocked off Shane Gray in the quarterfinals before falling to Edwards.
Nobile is fifth in the Pro Stock standings, with Johnson tenth and Gaines 13th. Next up is the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, April 14–17 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.