Johnson gives back to hometown high school; will educate children about drag racing & safety. GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 22, 2003) -- Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson will be returning to his alma mater South Greene High School on Oct. 29. Not...
Johnson gives back to hometown high school; will educate children about drag racing & safety.
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 22, 2003) -- Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson will be returning to his alma mater South Greene High School on Oct. 29. Not to get another diploma, but to educate driver's education students on the dangers of illegal street racing.
Johnson, who graduated from South Greene in 1977, has stayed a lifelong member of the community and takes every opportunity to give back.
"It's real important to tell kids there are options out there other than racing on the street," said Johnson, who currently sits fifth in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series points. "I also wanted to do this to say support Mr. (Dwight) Renner, who asked me to come.
"I am going to do about an hour program," Johnson added. "What I was going to try and do was start it off by explaining what the NHRA is and what drag racing is all about. They are also really interested in me showing a video of that wreck that I had in Gainesville a few years back. We're going to utilize that as a vehicle to talk about safe driving and the importance of seat belts and safety equipment. We're also going to talk about the dangers of street racing. I just want to show them how easy it is to have a wreck, and to let them know that an experienced racer can get into trouble. I want to try and get these kids to the track instead of street racing and tell them about Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway's really good street legal program as well."
Mr. Renner is the driver's education teacher at the high school. He asked Johnson to give his students a little background on the sport of drag racing and what it's like to be a professional race car driver.
"We wanted Allen to come here and talk to the kids about the dangers of street racing," said Renner, who has been teaching driver's education at the school for seven years now. "These kids are so impressionable, especially at this age, and we felt Allen's influence would be very positive for them. We want them to realize there are other opportunities out there besides racing on the streets. It's also important to recognize that Allen is one of our own."
Renner is very pleased with the direction Johnson has taken his life and said, "I would have never of dreamed, back when Allen was in high school, that he would have be as successful in life that he has been right now. He was one of our football stars and we used to call them, big rooster and little rooster, when talking about Allen and his dad, Roy."
Johnson mused about his high school experiences.
"I participated in all of the sports, but excelled in football," Johnson recalls. "I played in the Watauga Conference here in Tennessee. My senior year; I was All Conference; All Greene County and had almost 1,000 yards rushing playing halfback. We were a small school so I did a little bit if everything, which included returning punts, playing defense and on special teams. I also did a lot of the other sports like basketball, track, baseball and everything else the first couple of years of highs school. The last couple I just concentrated n football.
"I guess I'd have to say the only thing that kept me out of trouble and in school was football," Johnson continued. "My old football coach was a really good friend of my dad. I can tell you a few stories about wanting to quit because I didn't start as a sophomore. My dad and coach (John Thomas) kicked my butt and ran me until I puked. He has since passed away, so I support a golf tournament in his honor for the Cancer Society. The John Thomas Memorial Cancer Tournament is held every year, which I'm a big sponsor of in his memory. I got in enough trouble the way it was, but if it wasn't for football, I would have gotten into a lot more."