Mopar Pro Stock Teams Prepare to Etch Their Mark on 2004 Morgan and Johnsons Have Stepped Up for Championship Run Center Line, Mich. - The 2004 season has brought with it the winds of change for Team Mopar, and the brand's NHRA Pro Stock efforts...
Mopar Pro Stock Teams Prepare to Etch Their Mark on 2004
Morgan and Johnsons Have Stepped Up for Championship Run
Center Line, Mich. - The 2004 season has brought with it the winds of change for Team Mopar, and the brand's NHRA Pro Stock efforts are no exception. Larry Morgan Racing (LMR) and Johnson & Johnson Racing have committed themselves to winning the 2004 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championship, and both teams have taken big steps to ensure their success.
Larry Morgan Racing
Larry Morgan, owner and driver of the Mopar-sponsored Dodge Stratus R/T, looks to build on the momentum that carried his team to an outstanding late-season run in 2003. Making a 180-degree turnaround in performance and finishing 11th in points overall, Morgan and company posted one runner-up and three semifinal finishes in the latter half of the 2003 season to re-establish themselves as serious contenders.
"Stepping up to the new season coming off of our strong second half last year is very exciting," Morgan said. "We've been itching to get started. We definitely plan to continue the hard charging trend we started. We want to keep it all season, though."
The roots of LMR's aggressive agenda stem largely from the addition of the 10-time Pro Stock champion Bob Glidden, who came on board to crew chief for Morgan mid-season in 2003. Glidden's presence proved to be the spark that ignited the LMR fire, and the team's 2004 effort should reflect Glidden's presence from start to finish.
In addition to attempting to add to the impressive 101 national event victories that Morgan and Glidden have amassed between them, the team has streamlined their racing efforts, trimming the two-car team down to one for 2004. Morgan welcomes the move.
"We're definitely going to be a lot better with just one car," Morgan said. "We'll be able to concentrate more on making that single car the absolute best it can be."
Morgan and his teammates have their sights set on winning the coveted Pro Stock championship in 2004, despite the admittedly fierce competition that they face.
"It's awesome to be a part of the Mopar program and help Dodge develop parts to compete in this POWERade Pro Stock class," Morgan said. "It's the toughest class in the NHRA, and in all of racing as far as I'm concerned."
Johnson & Johnson Racing
Johnson & Johnson Racing, the other Pro Stock team that proudly boasts the Mopar colors, isn't about to give Morgan the title without a fight. During the off-season Johnson & Johnson gave themselves an edge over the competition by stepping up their program. The team added approximately 4000 sq. ft. to their Greeneville, Tenn., shop, adding a new dyno and other technology to their arsenal. They also added a new engine shop in North Carolina, the heart of NASCAR country.
"This year we've added more to our R&D program," said co-owner/engine builder Roy Johnson. "We've made some in-house adjustments trying to find horsepower. That's what we've got to do to stay in the hunt."
The team isn't relying solely on their technological updates to earn them the title; they've also added personnel to strengthen the program. Tuning expert Scott DeYoung, who brings several years of NASCAR and NHRA experience to the team, was brought into the mix to provide the team with another avenue in their pursuit for speed.
"We're stepping up everything to try to be number one and win this championship for Mopar," said co-owner/driver Allen Johnson. "We're spending more money, hiring more people, and we've got a new shop. We're doing everything we can to put Mopar in the number one spot."
Excited about their expanded resources and efforts for the 2004 racing season, the two-car team of Johnson & Johnson Racing is ready for the season opener at Pomona Raceway, Feb. 19-22. The team is prepared to begin their pursuit of the series title, while at the same time they're already focused on how they can make their program stronger.
"Everybody is working day and night to try to improve these parts and pieces and to give Mopar engineers the feedback they need to improve their blocks and cylinder heads," Johnson said. "That's gonna help us and their customers."
Last season, Allen Johnson finished a career-best sixth in the point standings.
Darrell Alderman, driver of the second Dodge Stratus R/T for Johnson & Johnson, is no stranger to championships, as he won the 1990, 1991 and 1994 Pro Stock driver championships with Dodge. Alderman's experience should prove priceless, and he has plans to return to championship form and give his Mopar teammates and the rest of the Pro Stock field a run for its money.
As the Christmas tree lights drop from red to green this weekend in Pomona signifying the start of the 2004 season, keep your eyes on the Team Mopar Pro Stock teams, because they are geared up and ready to compete for the crown.
Mopar is based in Center Line, Mich., and is the exclusive original equipment supplier of parts and accessories for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® vehicles.