Charlotte: Allen Johnson preview

Countdown Begins for Team Mopar's Allen Johnson at Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson battled his way through the 18-race NHRA POWERade Pro Stock regular season to emerge as one of 10 drivers...

Countdown Begins for Team Mopar's Allen Johnson at Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals

Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson battled his way through the 18-race NHRA POWERade Pro Stock regular season to emerge as one of 10 drivers to qualify for the NHRA Countdown to1 playoffs. One of the hottest drivers on the Pro Stock circuit will now enter the first event in the six-race playoffs, the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals. The race is scheduled for Sept. 11 -- 14 at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C.

Johnson and his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T team have made four semifinals appearances since July, including two runner-up finishes. Johnson also captured his fifth career No. 1 qualifier award at the recent U.S. Nationals. The string of successes has Johnson feeling rejuvenated as he begins the final push for a first career NHRA Pro Stock title.

"Momentum is key," said Johnson, who has qualified for the Countdown in each of the first two years of the playoff. "We've got that momentum right now and we have to go and keep that momentum. We want to use this first race to put us in a position where we are out front or near the top. I would like to go to the semis, minimum, at every race in the Countdown to be in a position to win the championship."

The zMax Dragway is unchartered territory for Johnson and his NHRA POWERade peers in the first-ever stop at the track. The Team Mopar driver has no doubt that his team will be able to handle any challenges.

"We had a chance to go there and test one day recently, but we didn't feel that the track would have the same conditions as on race day, so we decided not to go," Johnson said. "With our veteran team and as good as our car is working right now, it will probably be an advantage for us."

Johnson has benefited from the recent stellar performance of his Mopar/J&J Racing crew. The team has pulled to within eight points of the lead in the Full Throttle Pit Crew championship -- awarded to the top performing pit crew, following its No. 1 qualifying outing at Indy.

"I feel like our consistency as a team showed again up there in Indy," said Johnson. "We just have to transfer that to race day. The Mopar parts and the Mopar HEMI0x00ae engine are working awesome right now. Every part we get is totally within spec, and dad [Johnson's engine builder and father, Roy] does not have to work on them much. The Mopar blocks and the heads are great. I feel like we should have won five races already this year, and we haven't. I feel like they owe us. So we're just going to win the next five."

-credit: mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Allen Johnson