Gainesville: Allen Johnson preview

Team Mopar Driver Allen Johnson Eyes Twin Wins at NHRA Gatornationals Johnson seeks victory in delayed NHRA Arizona Nationals, NHRA Gatornationals; Johnson among Mopar-powered stars to participate in autograph sessions at Gainesville Auburn...

Team Mopar Driver Allen Johnson Eyes Twin Wins at NHRA Gatornationals Johnson seeks victory in delayed NHRA Arizona Nationals, NHRA Gatornationals; Johnson among Mopar-powered stars to participate in autograph sessions at Gainesville

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Allen Johnson will get a rare opportunity at the 41st Annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway this weekend--the chance to claim two wins at one NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. The Team Mopar Pro Stock driver is a threat to win both the postponed elimination rounds of the NHRA Arizona Nationals, which will be contested during qualifying at Gainesville on March 12--13, and the Gatornationals crown on Sunday, March 14.

Johnson has experience in the race-within-a-race format. He won the 2008 K&N Horsepower Challenge during the qualifying rounds of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. The Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger driver hopes to put his prior experience to good use at Gainesville.

"It would obviously be a huge early-season boost to double up and win both the Arizona event and the Gatornationals in one weekend," said Johnson. "It would be like the K&N Challenge. Gainesville is one of my favorite races, being near spring time. I've always wanted to win that race."

The Greeneville, Tenn. native came close to victory last year, losing in the 2009 Gatornationals final on a close holeshot to Jason Line. Fittingly, Johnson will face Line in the second round of qualifying at Gainesville, which will double as the quarterfinals of the Arizona Nationals.

"I owe him one," said Johnson, laughing. "It gives me a lot of incentive to do well both on Friday and on Sunday."

Johnson will begin a three-day test session at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida today to continue to dial in his new Mopar Dodge Avenger. The Team Mopar veteran has already driven his new Mopar HEMI-powered ride to the semifinals in the season-opening NHRA Winternationals, but is looking for even greater results at Gainesville.

"I think we need to be second [in qualifying], at least," said Johnson. "If Mike [Edwards, current Pro Stock points leader] stubs his toe just a little bit, I think we can even qualify No. 1. We need to start making better runs during qualifying. We're gaining on it. This car is a little different. We've got a little bit bigger window in the Mopar Dodge Avenger. We've got to get on the edge a little more with it. The more seat time I have in it, the better it is going to be. "

Johnson among Mopar-powered stars to participate in autograph sessions at Gainesville

Allen Johnson will join a number of his fellow Mopar-powered NHRA stars as well as Dodge Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch and Mopar racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits in autograph sessions scheduled to take place at the Mopar Image Center in the manufacturers midway at Gainesville.

Garlits will sign autographs for fans at the Mopar Image Center at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 12. Johnson and Mopar HEMI-powered Pro Stock drivers V. Gaines and Vinnie Deceglie will appear from 10:30--11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 13. NHRA Funny Car racers Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and Melanie Troxel will visit for a signing session following the first round of qualifying on Saturday.

Busch will race his 1970 Dodge Challenger in the NHRA Super Gas Sportsman class at Gainesville. The driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Penske Racing Dodge Charger on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will also take part in an autograph session at the Mopar Image Center.

-source: mopar

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Ron Capps , Kurt Busch , Don Garlits , Jack Beckman , Melanie Troxel , Allen Johnson , Jason Line
Teams Team Penske