Indy ORP: Allen Johnson preview

Team Mopar Driver Johnson Eager to End NHRA Regular Season with Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Triumph Johnson seeks momentum entering NHRA Countdown to 1 playoffs Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson would like to build positive ...

Team Mopar Driver Johnson Eager to End NHRA Regular Season with Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Triumph Johnson seeks momentum entering NHRA Countdown to 1 playoffs

Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson would like to build positive momentum for his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T NHRA Pro Stock team prior to the start of the NHRA Countdown to 1 playoffs. A victory in the final NHRA regular season race, the tradition-rich 55th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, would provide Johnson the perfect playoff push. The event is scheduled for Sept. 2--7 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Ind., with qualifying in the pro classes set to begin on Sept. 4.

Johnson has secured his playoff berth and can focus on finding a winning setup for Indy and beyond. The Greeneville, Tenn., native doesn't have to look back very far for instances of past U.S. Nationals success. Johnson claimed the No. 1 Qualifier Award at the 2008 Indy event. The veteran Team Mopar driver says he is confident he can rebound from failing to qualify at the NHRA event in Reading (his first DNQ in 61 races) to claim his first U.S. Nationals win and third win of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

"I think we've proven that we're strong and we've gained on the competition," said Johnson. "Even with our little stub of the toe at Reading, we're fine. It's time to start the plan for the Countdown to 1. We're going to bring some new stuff to the table at Indy and get our setup correct for the playoffs. We're going to hone the new setup with test sessions in St. Louis prior to the U.S. Nationals."

Johnson's focus at Indy will be on his own Mopar-powered Pro Stocker but he also has a vested interest in the success of his J&J Racing teammate, Johnny Gray. The Mopar-fueled Gray advanced to the finals at Reading and trails Warren Johnson by just nine points in the race for the tenth and final spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

"Johnny's performance at Reading showed what he and his team are capable of," Johnson said. "Dad [J&J Racing engine builder Roy Johnson, Allen's father] is certainly giving him good motors and good direction and hopefully he can continue that at Indy and get into the Countdown. To have two J&J Racing-prepared motors in the Countdown would be a testament to our team and to the power and performance of Mopar HEMI engines.

"We've really had a great year to date. A win at Indy would certainly put us on track to really go after a championship. If we could finish up the year with both, it would be huge."

-credit: team mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Allen Johnson , Johnny Gray