Johnson to Start No. 7 at NHRA 4-Wide Nationals; Mopar Unveils Mopar '11 Charger
Team Mopar NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson earned the No. 7 starting spot at the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, on a day that saw his primary sponsor Mopar unveil a special limited-edition Mopar '11 Charger to a cheering crowd at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
Following a lengthy delay due to rain and severe thunderstorms, Johnson recorded a 6.597-second pass at 210.50 mph in his first qualifying run of the day, and then motored to a 6.585/211.26 mark in his final effort, bettering his 6.586/210.21 pass from yesterday. The Team Mopar/J&J Racing veteran will face off against Greg Anderson -- as well as Kurt Johnson and Ronnie Humphrey -- in the first round of the unique four-wide racing format in place at zMAX Dragway. The first two cars to reach the finish line first will advance to the next round.
"I'm happy today, because we were consistent, and that's what we need to be," said Johnson. "We're still not quite as fast as we can be. We left a good hundredth on the table on both runs. We did get down both sides of the track, so we're happy with how the Mopar Dodge Avenger is reacting to our changes. I feel like we can go out there tomorrow and be one of the fastest two cars in the first round, and then maintain lane choice. That's going to be the trick.
"It looks like we've got three lanes that are okay, and we get second lane choice. We'll try to be consistent, that's our goal, and keeping first or second lane choice is critical."
A pair of Pro Stockers competing with Mopar HEMI-power in their Dodge Avengers, Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines, will meet in another four-wide opening round battle, along with Roger Brogdon and Erica Enders. Nobile qualified No. 5 with a 6.578/211.16 run; Gaines came in at No. 13 with a 6.613/209.10 effort.
The Mopar '11 Charger takes the 'head-turning' factor up a few notches.
The severe weather couldn't dampen the spirits of the Mopar executives who waited out a more than three hour-rain delay to pull the cover off the Mopar '11 Charger, a Mopar version of a Dodge Charger. The Mopar '11, outfitted with select high-performance parts and appearance items straight from the Mopar parts catalog, is powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI0x00ae engine and can go from 0-60 in the low five-second range. Dutch Mandel, editor of AutoWeek, was also on hand to unveil the magazine's new contest, AutoWeek America Adventure, in which the grand prize will be a new Mopar '11 Charger.
"The Mopar '11 Charger takes the 'head-turning' factor up a few notches," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group's service, parts and customer-care brand. "By adding some of the most distinctive accessories to an already strong performer, we've created a special-edition car for enthusiasts."
"It's a gorgeous car," said Team Mopar driver Johnson of the Mopar '11 Charger. "They brought in all the big guns to unveil it, and the crowd gave it a great reception. Seeing Pietro, and Jim Sassorossi and Tricia Hecker from Mopar, it's always enjoyable to visit with them. I may have to talk to Pietro about getting a deal on one to put in my garage back home."