TEAM MOPARÂ® PRO STOCK DRIVER ALLEN JOHNSON CAPTURES $50,000 BONUS WITH K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE VICTORY AT NORWALK Norwalk, Ohio (June 28, 2008) -- Team MoparÂ®'s Allen Johnson reeled off a jaw-dropping .000 reaction time to defeat Greg...
TEAM MOPAR® PRO STOCK DRIVER ALLEN JOHNSON CAPTURES $50,000 BONUS WITH K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE VICTORY AT NORWALK
Norwalk, Ohio (June 28, 2008) -- Team Mopar®'s Allen Johnson reeled off a jaw-dropping .000 reaction time to defeat Greg Anderson in the finals of the race-within-a-race K&N Horsepower Challenge today during qualifying for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. The Mopar®/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T driver also banked a $50,000 bonus with the victory, the first for a Mopar-powered Pro Stock car in the event since Darrell Alderman took the win 17 years ago.
Johnson was the No. 2 seed in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. The event featured the eight Pro Stock drivers who accumulated the most points in qualifying dating back to the 2007 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Johnson had the better time off the starting line in each of his matches. He defeated Warren Johnson in the first round with a reaction time of .085 to Warren's .118, beat Kurt Johnson in the semis with a .028 to Kurt's .053, then, saving the best for last, unleashed his .000 mark in the finals against Anderson's .024 reaction time.
"To win this means a lot," said Johnson, who made his fifth appearance in the bonus event. "Mopar hasn't won this race in 17 years. I don't think this will be our last. Dad [engine builder Roy Johnson] and the whole crew, everybody's been doing an awesome job with our program."
Johnson added, "The perfect light in the final, I don't know where that came from. We had a really good day. The second round, I was able to cut a little bit of a better light there, and then in the finals, of course, you're just sucking up everything you got to really get it close. Fortunately we were on the green-side of perfect."
Johnson also helped one lucky fan win big. The K&N Filters promotion featured a sweepstakes in which eight fans won a free trip to the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Each fan was then paired up with a driver for the chance to win a brand-new car. Ed Merry, a Virginia Beach, Va., native and a self-professed "beach bum," was the fortunate driver who drew Johnson's name and won a brand-new ride.
"This is unbelievable," said a joyful Merry. "This is my first time at a live event. His [A.J.'s] hitting triple zeroes was amazing."
In addition to his K& N win, Johnson qualified in the No. 3 spot for tomorrow's elimination rounds at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. He'll face fellow Mopar HEMI®-powered driver V. Gaines in the first round and will have the chance to add another $25,000 to his $50,000 K&N bonus by doubling up. The Greeneville, Tenn. native could push his overall weekend winnings to the $100,000 mark with an event victory on Sunday.
"The win put a lot of pressure on us for tomorrow, but to even have the opportunity is awesome," said Johnson. "We'll go up there and try to do our job, go some rounds and double up with Mopar power."
Johnson and Gaines will be joined on Sunday by an additional five HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock drivers. Newark, Ohio native Larry Morgan qualified No. 6 and will face Vinnie Deceglie, another Team Mopar driver, in the opening stanza. Johnny Gray took the No. 13 spot and will battle with Ron Krisher, Justin Humphreys will start at No. 15 and draw Jeg Coughlin, while young Rickie Jones will take on No. 1 Qualifier Jason Line.