Allen Johnson gains crucial points in Friday qualifying at St. Louis

Madison, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2012) – Mopar Dodge Avenger NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series driver Allen Johnson, the current leader in the NHRA Pro Stock “Countdown to the Championship” playoffs, continues to rack up points in his fight for the title.

The Team Mopar veteran gained four valuable points and earned the No. 2 provisional spot following the first two rounds of qualifying for the AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals on Friday, Sept. 28, at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.

Story Highlights

  • Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson earns provisional No. 2 spot with a run of 6.516-seconds
  • Johnson, the current leader, picks up four valuable points in the fight for the Pro Stock ‘Countdown to the Championship’
  • Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman seizes provisional pole

Johnson was second quickest in the first session with an elapsed time (ET) of 6.534-seconds at 212.46 mph, earning two bonus points as he seeks to maintain his lead in the Pro Stock standings and earn the first overall Pro Stock championship of his 17-year career.

In the evening qualifying session, the Greeneville, Tenn., native also came in at No. 2 with a 6.516/212.76 effort, picking up an additional two markers. Johnson has a class-best 10 No. 1 spots on the season and will seek to move up tomorrow and claim his 11th pole of the 2012 campaign.

Allen Johnson
Allen Johnson

Photo by: NHRA

“We had a productive day, and gained some points in the title fight,” said Johnson, winner of the most recent NHRA event in Dallas, and a five-time event champ in 2012 thus far. “We left quite a bit on the table both runs, though.

But we’re taking it run by run, and not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll go out there tomorrow and try to go even better.

“Tomorrow morning will probably be the best run of the weekend, or at least equal to the second session today. I’d say we’ll have an opportunity to move up if we can make a good run.”

The AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals marks the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ return to the St. Louis area after a one year hiatus. Johnson, for one, is amped up to return to racing in the shadow of the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch.

“There’s been an awesome bunch of Mopar fans, both at the NHRA Fan Fest on Thursday in downtown St. Louis, and also here today at Gateway Motorsports Park,” said Johnson. “This track has always been a good venue for Mopar fans. It’s great to see racing return here.”

When not behind the wheel or signing autographs in the pits, Johnson, an avid golfer who owns his own course back in Greeneville, has been holed up in his motorhome cheering on the U.S. squad in their battle against Europe in the Ryder Cup.

“We’re looking forward to watching some more Ryder Cup golf,” said Johnson. “We’re going to put some decals on my car tomorrow, and keep up with the score, and put it on the back window of the Mopar Dodge Avenger to show our support. It should be exciting.”

Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger racer Vincent Nobile, who competes with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing squad, was third-quickest of the opening session with a 6.534/211.49 performance (Johnson took the No. 2 spot thanks to his better mph mark), banking one bonus point. In his final run, Nobile recorded a 6.530/212.33 effort to take the provisional No. 5 position.

V. Gaines and Jeg Coughlin Jr., two Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger drivers also battling in the Pro Stock “Countdown to the Championship,” were ranked ninth and 14th, respectively, after Friday qualifying.

Gaines clocked a 6.548/210.47 in his Dodge, while four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Coughlin lit the timing lights with a best run of 6.569/210.54 in his Mopar/ Dodge Avenger. Chris McGaha was listed No. 11 in his Dodge with a run of 6.553/210.31.

In the NHRA Funny Car class, Jack Beckman led the four-driver strong Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger R/T gang with a 4.049/308.85 pass to claim the provisional pole.

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan ended Friday third with a 4.061/305.42 run, current Funny Car points leader Ron Capps was No. 6 with a 4.083/309.34 mark in his Dodge, and Johnny Gray rounded out the DSR Mopar Dodge squad at 11th with a 4.131/304.60.

Two final qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday, starting at 11:30 a.m. CT. Qualifying highlights are scheduled to air on ESPN2 on Sunday from 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. (ET), and again on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET).

Source: Mopar Motorsports

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Ron Capps , Jack Beckman , Allen Johnson , Johnny Gray , Don Schumacher , Matt Hagan , Vincent Nobile , Chris McGaha
Article type Qualifying report
Tags beckman, dodge, funny car, gateway, johnson, madison, mopar, nhra, pro stock, st.louis