Denver: Team Mopar preview

Johnson and Stevens Intend To Go From Consistent to Conquest at the 28th Annual Mopar® Mile-high Nationals Center Line, Mich. -- Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., Team Mopar®'s NHRA POWERade Pro Stock duo, will take to the mountains this...

Johnson and Stevens Intend To Go From Consistent to Conquest at the 28th Annual Mopar® Mile-high Nationals

Center Line, Mich. -- Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., Team Mopar®'s NHRA POWERade Pro Stock duo, will take to the mountains this weekend at the 28th Mopar® Mile-high Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. on July 13--15. With a string of strong qualifying runs over the past few events, this Mopar event is the perfect opportunity for the pair to break through with a trip to victory lane.

Johnson wants to make up for a lost opportunity Johnson still has vivid memories of his visit at the 2006 Mopar Mile-high Nationals.

"Last year, we qualified second, just one-thousandth of a second out of the number one qualifying position," Johnson explained. "Then, as it turned out, we were eliminated in the first round. It was disappointing, but I figure this year will be a good time to make up for that lost opportunity last year."

Despite the early departure from last year's competition, Johnson still felt the great qualifying run gave him tremendous momentum for the rest of the year.

Johnson said, "It was at the Mile-high Nationals last year that began our run of eight straight semis. This year, if we can get a victory here, it might start that kind of run too."

For those kind of results, it's going to take a high level of consistency and it's here where Johnson feels his team has it all together. "Everything has been gelling lately and we've had a strong car that has been performing very well," Johnson said. "My own start times have been at the top of the drivers' standings most of the year, so if you put both of them together, that's a strong combination."

He concluded, "We're going to need all of that technical skill and power as the Pro Stock category gets harder and harder to win every year. This year, there are always at least six to eight cars that are capable of winning every week. That's bad for us, but it's great for the fans. When we win, we'll know we really earned it."

Stevens Jr. will make adjustments for Mile-high track For Stevens Jr., and all the other NHRA Pro Stock drivers, there's no track quite like the Bandimere Speedway.

He explained, "With the extreme altitude we're competing at, there's no track that compares to this one. It's a big challenge for our crew as we have to change the rear end, fuel system, timing, etc. And once we get that straightened out, there are more challenges once we get out on the track."

Stevens continued, "This track is a lot slower than the other ones we race on. I know that sounds funny considering we're still going 180 mph, but compared to the 200 we usually go, it's a big difference. The hardest thing for a driver is that the shift points change. You have to be patient and wait a little longer before you shift. If you get it wrong, it can knock all the breadth out of the engine. It's the same thing a person might feel if they try to run at a high altitude without being used to it. Bandimere is a real driver's course that puts a lot more pressure on us to perform."

There's another reason he feels a little more pressure at this upcoming race. "This is a Mopar-sponsored event and being a Mopar driver, I always want to do especially well in front of the fans here," Stevens said. "When we tested here earlier this year, we had the quickest car out here. Hopefully we can find that same speed this weekend and win one for our team and our Mopar sponsors."

28th Annual Mopar Mile-high Nationals Event Details The 28th Annual Mopar Mile-high Nationals is scheduled for July 13--15 at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. Two hours of qualifying coverage will air on Saturday, July 14 starting at 6 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2. Three hours of eliminations coverage will be broadcast on Sunday, July 15 starting at 9 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

For more info on the 28th Annual Mopar Mile-high Nationals, visit www.nhra.com, www.bandimere.com or www.moparspeed.com.

Mopar Big Block Party information
The Mopar Big Block Party is the biggest Mopar bash of them all. Each year, throngs of Mopar fans fill the streets of Golden, Colo. who take in the sights of Chrysler display and concept vehicles. They also listen to the sounds of Chicago cover band, Maggie Speaks, now in its third year of performing at the Block Party.

Current Team Mopar NHRA drivers such as Gary Scelzi, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Johnson, Stevens Jr. and Erica Enders are scheduled to sign autographs for fans. Party attendees will also get a sneak peek at the special Mopar Mile-high paint scheme that Gary Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T will carry for the event (to be revealed at the Mopar press conference on the stage).

"The Mopar Big Block Party gets bigger and bigger every year," said Kevin Miller, Senior Manager, Brand Strategy & Mopar Performance. "Golden is a great setting for the event. It's a fantastic opportunity for the brand to interact with Mopar fans in a fun environment. Admission is free, so the Block Party is a way to give people on the grassroots level the opportunity to come out and meet their favorite NHRA stars. It's a great way to kick off the Mopar Mile-high Nationals."

70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.

Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s -- the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth "package cars" equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.

Today, the Chrysler Group's Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler engineering standards.

-credit: mopar/dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Allen Johnson