BRISTOL, Tenn. - Allen Johnson has yet to claim a national event victory at Bristol Dragway, the place he calls home. That doesn't change the fact that Johnson loves racing with the comforts of home surrounding him. "I won one of my first big ...
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Allen Johnson has yet to claim a national event victory at Bristol Dragway, the place he calls home. That doesn't change the fact that Johnson loves racing with the comforts of home surrounding him.
"I won one of my first big races at Bristol back in Super Stock when I was racing in another series," Johnson said. "That was in 1981. I certainly have great memories there. The good thing about Tennessee is that whether you are sitting at home or at Bristol Dragway, it just looks like home with the mountains in the background and the beautiful air all around you. It's an awesome place."
Johnson is looking forward to earning his first national event victory at home, a feat he would like to accomplish during the third annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, April 25-27. Larry Dixon, Whit Bazemore and Warren Johnson are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $1.2 million race, the sixth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
After the first four events of the season, Johnson is in fourth place of the Pro Stock standings, driving his Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T to one final round appearance at the season opener in February.
Johnson earned one win in 2002 en route to an eighth place finish in the Pro Stock standings. Johnson has two wins in five final round appearances and is looking to become one of the more competitive drivers on the NHRA circuit.
"Our goals for the 2003 season are simple," Johnson said. "We want to win the NHRA Pro Stock championship. It's a matter of consistency. We know that we have the horsepower and the Mopar support with the Neon has been good. It's up to the drivers to get the car down the track and not make mistakes. We need to keep advancing, round by round, and that will get us the points which will help us stay within striking distance of the point leaders."
During the offseason, Johnson teamed up with three-time (1990, '91, '94) Pro Stock champion Darrell Alderman, to create a two-car team.
"Darrell is so focused this year and we are really working well together," Johnson said. "He feels as if this is his best shot of winning another championship. I feel just as good about the program and what we have been able to accomplish so far this season. It's still a long way until the season ends in Pomona."
Alderman, a resident of Morehead, Ky., may not be the hometown racer, but he feels just as comfortable on the quarter-mile strip at Bristol Dragway.
"The Bristol race is a home race for the team," Alderman said. "Allen lives about 45 minutes from the track. I love it because we get a lot of people from Kentucky who come over for the race.
"The team has done a lot of testing there and they know what the track can handle. I always enjoy racing there, even if I haven't won at that track yet. The sounds are great and the fan support is unbelievable."
Johnson admits there is some added pressure to racing in front of the hometown crowd, but he doesn't let that get in the way of putting on the best race possible.
"Bristol is home and I have got a lot of family and friends who come out and support the team," Johnson said. "There are a lot of people who also support my business while I am gone for all of the NHRA races and it is great to be able to come home and put on a show for them. It's always a little extra pressure on you to perform, but these folks will support us no matter what. That just makes us want to win even more."