Norwalk: Allen Johnson preview

Team Mopar Driver Johnson Determined to Defend K&N Challenge Crown, Double Up at Norwalk Allen Johnson seeks K&N Horsepower Challenge and main event wins this weekend Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson has special memories...

Team Mopar Driver Johnson Determined to Defend K&N Challenge Crown, Double Up at Norwalk
Allen Johnson seeks K&N Horsepower Challenge and main event wins this weekend

Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson has special memories of his last visit to Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, site of his dramatic 2008 win in the race-within-a-race K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event. Johnson is on a mission to make 2009 even more memorable with victories in both the K&N Challenge and the main event, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, scheduled for June 25--28.

Johnson defeated Greg Anderson with a perfect .000 reaction time off the tree to bank the $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge grand prize in 2008, but still walked away from his Norwalk visit with a nagging sense of unfinished business. In last year's main event, Johnson set low ET of the race yet was still knocked out in the quarterfinals on a holeshot loss to fellow Mopar HEMI-powered driver Larry Morgan.

"That was probably the most fun weekend we had last year at Norwalk," said Johnson, driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T. "But in the end, I had a horrible light on Sunday and lost in the second round when we still had the fastest car. I missed the chance to double up, so that's the goal this year, to get it done and double up."

Johnson enters the 2009 K&N Horsepower Challenge event ranked No. 3. The event features the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers dating back to the 2008 Norwalk event. Johnson's J&J Racing team has constructed an amazingly consistent track record in qualifying, posting the Mopar/J&J Pro Stocker in the top half of the field in 10 of eleven events thus far and giving the squad another crack at a $50,000 payday.

"It speaks very well for the team," said Johnson, whose father, Roy, acts as engine builder for J&J Racing. Mark Ingersoll and Jeff Perley serve as co-crew chiefs. "We've been in the bonus event for a few years straight now and have been seeded pretty high in each one. That tells you we've got the package, we've just got to get rid of the boo-boos on Sunday and I think the wins will start rolling up."

Johnson has been hot as of late. He scored his sixth career Pro Stock win at the NHRA Topeka event in May, advanced to the semifinals at the most recent NHRA event in Englishtown, N.J., and is only two rounds away from his 175th career round win.

Just six events remain after Norwalk until the NHRA Countdown to 1 playoff cuts the field down to the top 10 drivers. Johnson qualified for the Countdown in the first two years of the playoff and is currently fifth in the point standings. The Greeneville, Tenn. native is well-placed to make the cut, but nevertheless said he is working hard to better his position come playoff time.

"I'd like to move up a couple more spots and I don't think it's out of the question," said Johnson. "If we can just continue to do what we are doing I think we'll move up at least one, maybe two positions."

-credit: mopar

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