Team Mopar press release
Team Mopar Driver Johnson Scores Runner-up at Vegas, Moves to Top Five in Standings
Capps wins all-Mopar Dodge Charger final round in Funny Car
Las Vegas, Nev. — Allen Johnson steered his Mopar® Dodge Avenger NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock car to a runner-up finish today in the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, advancing to his second-straight final, fourth of the season and 25th of his career. The second-place result moved Johnson to fifth in the Pro Stock standings, just six markers out of the fourth spot.
The sunshine and clear skies that graced the Vegas event for the first two days continued through the elimination rounds, as Johnson, the No. 3 qualifier, faced off with Greg Stanfield in the opening stanza. Johnson’s Mopar Dodge proved too much for Stanfield, with the HEMI®-fueled driver posting a 6.648-second elapsed time at 207.56 mph to Stanfield’s 6.699/206.76 mark.
In the quarterfinals Johnson triumphed in a Dodge vs. Ford matchup, knocking off the Mustang of Larry Morgan with a 6.680/207.56 pass to his opponent’s 6.716/206.83 mark and capturing the 250th round win of his career. Johnson lacked lane choice in his semifinals matchup with Jason Line but took the win over the newly-crowned 2011 NHRA Pro Stock champ with a 6.674/207.53 run after Line pushed the “Tree” too far and red-lighted. The Greeneville, Tenn. native’s run ended in the final, where again lacking lane choice Johnson fell, recording a 6.668/208.01 run to his foe Mike Edwards’ winning 6.641/208.30 effort.
“I feel really good about my team, my car, my driving, just the whole package right now,” said Johnson, who advanced to his first career final at Vegas. “Mike (Edwards) has a little performance advantage right now, and we’ve got to even that up, but overall it was a great weekend. We moved up a spot in the standings, and hopefully we can move up even more at Pomona, go to our third straight final and get the win.”
On capturing his 250th career round win, Johnson said, “That’s cool. It’s a milestone. Maybe 500 wins will come a little quicker.”
Mopar HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car driver Ron Capps had a big rebound from his DNQ in Phoenix, taking both the No. 1 Qualifier spot and the event win at Vegas. Capps defeated Todd Lesenko, fellow Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge teammate Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon and fellow DSR driver Johnny Gray in an all-Mopar final. Matt Hagan leaves the event with a one-point lead for the top spot in the standings over his Mopar-fueled DSR Funny Car teammate Beckman.
“It’s a great car to drive,” said Capps, who earned his second win of the season and 33 of his career, of his Mopar HEMI Dodge. “A 4.10 (ET) in the final, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe the car stayed hooked up. I was so happy to see the win light.”
In the NHRA Sportsman ranks, young Andy Durham claimed the runner-up spot in Stock Eliminator in his 2011 Mopar Challenger V-10 Drag Pak. The Arcadia, Calif. native lost on a breakout in the final to Jim Meador. Durham also advanced to the semis in Stock at the spring NHRA event at the Vegas venue.
Next up is the final event of the season, the 47th Annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif. Nov. 10–13.