Team Mopar Drivers Johnson and Hagan Advance to Final Rounds at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
A pair of Mopar cars paid a visit to the final round at the 32nd Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, as Mopar Dodge Avenger Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson advanced to his fifth straight final at Denver and Matt Hagan also scored a runner-up finish in his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car today at Bandimere Speedway.
Johnson qualified No. 1 for the second straight year at his primary sponsor Mopar’s headline event and faced Steve Kalkowski in the opening round. Johnson posted a 6.962-second elapsed time (ET) at 198.06 mph to beat Kalkowski, which was low ET of the weekend — until the Team Mopar veteran set the Bandimere ET track record with a 6.955 run paired with a 198.15 speed to knock off defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson.
Looking for this third straight Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals win, Johnson bested Kurt Johnson (no relation) in the semifinals with a 6.988/197.48 pass to advance to the 23rd final round of his career and sixth at the Mopar Mile-Highs. Without lane choice in the final round against opponent Mike Edwards, the Mopar HEMI-powered racer would see his quest for four wins in the last five years end with a red-light foul off the starting line. Johnson’s stellar runner-up weekend at Denver moved the Greeneville, Tenn. native to sixth in the standings, just four markers out of fifth place.
“The whole Mopar/J&J Racing team was strong, and we have to be happy with our performance,” said Johnson, who joined NHRA legend Lee Shepherd as the only Pro Stock drivers to advance to five consecutive final rounds at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. “One little boo-boo all weekend, in the semis, and it cost us lane choice and the race. But five straight finals, three wins in five years – I just love coming to the Mopar Mile-High Nationals. It’s great to rub elbows with all the folks from Mopar who help us and support us all year long.
“We’re getting our groove on right now. The Mopar Dodge is working great, the motors are running great. This was an awesome way to start the Western Swing. We’ll see if we can go to two more finals at Sonoma and Seattle and end the trip well into the top-five in points.”
The red-light bug also bit Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Matt Hagan. The Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver defeated Melanie Troxel with a 4.373/273.94 pass, fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T teammate Ron Capps on a 4.299/291.70 run and Robert Hight with a 4.285/292.08 mark before losing to John Force on a red-light in the final.
“We have to pick it up and get ready to race again in five days,” said Hagan, who solidified his hold on the fifth spot in the standings with his finish. “No excuses; we just have to bear down and get that first victory.”