POMONA, CA - Allen Johnson knows just how the Tennessee Titans feel. A runner-up finish at the 7th annual Pro Stock Superbowl event held last weekend at Houston Raceway Park might not be quite as bad as finishing second in the NFL's version of...
POMONA, CA - Allen Johnson knows just how the Tennessee Titans feel. A runner-up finish at the 7th annual Pro Stock Superbowl event held last weekend at Houston Raceway Park might not be quite as bad as finishing second in the NFL's version of the Superbowl, but for Johnson it still meant second place. Now if it was at the US Nationals, things might be different, as Johnson used the race in Texas to shake down his Amoco Ultimate Avenger for this weekend's season opening NHRA Autozone Winter Nationals being held at the legendary Pomona Fairplex.
"It's always nice to get off to a good start," said Johnson, who calls Greeneville, TN home. "We got some good data racing on a cold race track that was hard to get down. We got down it every run and I think we're probably only one of two cars that can say that."
After beating Robert Patrick, John Fairleigh, and Jim Yates, Johnson was beaten in the Superbowl finals by Tom Martino on Saturday. Crew Chief Roy Johnson had the team's second motor in the car and the driver was pleased with its performance.
"To finish second with our backup motor really gives us confidence in our motor program," said Johnson. "We know that we've got two really strong motors so if something crazy does happen with the first. I think they'll both still qualify and allow us to do well."
After rebuilding the Amoco Ultimate Avenger to meet new specifications, Johnson and the team tested in Florida before competing in Houston. Johnson is hoping the changes will benefit the team this season.
"All the cars now have the same over hang on the front end," said Johnson. "It's probably worth a half of a hundredth (second) to us. I lost quite a few races by a thousandth of second last year."
Everything else is intact from last year's breakthrough season that included career bests in events qualified (20), first round wins (9), second round wins (4), semi-final wins (2), a victory in April and a ninth place finish in the Pro Stock standings. The team is shooting for more victories in 2000 and also finishing in the top-five overall.
"We're all really excited and very confident," said Johnson. "I think our first motor is quite a bit stronger than the one we ran in Houston. If we can make the right calls based on what we saw in Houston, I'd say we're a top-five car. Hopefully, we qualify well which would put us in a position to win some rounds. If we can win some rounds, anything is possible."
"There's always excitement at the season opener. You work all winter trying to get things ready and with the tradition and fanfare at Pomona, it's a great way to start the year."