JOHNSON AND STEVENS JR. HANG ON TO 1-2 IN DENVER MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2007) - Today, for the first time since the Reading, Pa., NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of last year, a Pro Stock car other than the dominant Summit Racing ...
JOHNSON AND STEVENS JR. HANG ON TO 1-2 IN DENVER
MORRISON, Colo. (July 14, 2007) - Today, for the first time since the Reading, Pa., NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of last year, a Pro Stock car other than the dominant Summit Racing Equipment cars of Greg Anderson and Jason Line and the "yellow" Victor Cagnazzi-owned cars of Jeg Coughlin and Dave Connolly qualified on the pole for a national event.
Allen Johnson drove the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T to his first No. 1 position of the year, the third of his career, at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals after posting a track-record-setting 7.032-second lap at 195.73 mph on Friday evening. His Mopar teammate Richie Stevens Jr. came in second, holding on to the 7.035/195.05 mark he established also on Friday evening.
In the final qualifying round today, Johnson posted the quickest run of that round, a 7.049/195.25, while Stevens' 7.054/195.08 was second quickest.
ALLEN JOHNSON, MOPAR/J&J RACING DODGE STRATUS R/T:
"I was just talking to my dad (Roy, team engine builder, age 65). It's just a dream come true for us, and for him especially. He's worked his whole life to try to build good engines and do good, and this year, [we've] just really jelled and come together. The deal in Phoenix with his heart and everything we went through, it's just real special for him, and especially to do it here for the Mopar event.
"In Phoenix he had a mild heart attack at the track and we got him to the hospital very hurriedly and [he] had a major one there as soon as we got there and died on the table, actually, and they just shocked him and all that. Three days later he's back in the shop working and [has] been going strong ever since."
As for mastering the mile-high altitude, "Last year we were No. 1 Friday night and then Jason (Line) last run knocked us off of No. 1 by a thousandth (of a second), so Mark (Ingersoll, crew chief) has had the tune-up on the cars and the chassis and Dad's been sneaking up on the motors here for the last couple of years, so we really expected to do well here.
"...The whole weekend has just been magical. I hope we can keep it up tomorrow."
Johnson faces Greg Stanfield in the opening round of eliminations on Sunday.
RICHIE STEVENS JR., DON SCHUMACHER RACING'S TEAM MOPAR/VALSPAR DODGE STRATUS R/T:
"We came here and tested about two months ago and we tested really well, and I actually got to drive both cars at the test session. We went 7.03 and 7.04 in both cars, mine and Allen's. We knew we had a good tune-up coming here, so it was expected of us to do well. And to come out here and get 1 and 2, like he said, is pretty magical to do it.
"Mopar's got to be pretty happy with it. I know we are, I know his Dad is, and [we're] thrilled to do it. It's good to beat those yellow cars and the Summit cars for the pole spot and it feels good to do it in front of the home sponsor.
"They're slacking a little bit this weekend and we're showing off in front of them," Stevens said of the Summit and "yellow" teams. "Hopefully it's not a fluke, and I don't think it is. Roy has been making some pretty good power at home and it's taken us a little time to get these cars sorted out, but Mark's got a pretty good handle on them and we've got a good setup. Like I said, we tested really well here, so it paid off to make the truck way out here earlier this season and it has shown this weekend."
Stevens faces his good pal Erica Enders in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.