Johnson Returns Home, Stevens Looks to Return to Form at O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Center Line, Mich. -- Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., Team Mopar's NHRA POWERade Pro Stock duo, will compete in the third event in a string of...
Johnson Returns Home, Stevens Looks to Return to Form at O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Center Line, Mich. -- Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., Team Mopar's NHRA POWERade Pro Stock duo, will compete in the third event in a string of six consecutive races this weekend at the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. Johnson, a Tennessee native, returns to his home track fresh off a semifinals appearance at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, last week. Stevens, the No. 2 qualifier at Norwalk, will look to turn the momentum from his recent run of strong qualifying efforts into round wins at Bristol Dragway.
Allen Johnson heads to O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals with momentum Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson, pilot of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, has been qualifying in the top half of the Pro Stock field and going rounds on a consistent basis. His strong outings have placed him in the fifth spot in the NHRA Pro Stock standings and on his opponents' radar as a driver to watch. The Greeneville, Tenn., native would like for nothing better than to break through for his first 2007 win at his home track of Bristol Dragway.
"This week is a huge week, of course," Johnson remarked. "We're in stride right now, so maybe we can go down there and get that first win of the year there at our home track. I'll have a lot of friends and family around. Maybe we can get that win next week."
The Bristol Dragway track might be a challenge, but Johnson is confident in the abilities of his J&J Racing team, led by crew chief Mark Ingersoll and Johnson's father, engine builder and co-owner, Roy Johnson.
"The track down there is going to be green and marginal," said Johnson. "Again, that plays into our hands, because we've got some of the best people. We should come out swinging.
Richie Stevens Jr. seeks to capitalize on strong qualifying runs at O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Don Schumacher Racing driver Richie Stevens Jr. knows his Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T has what it takes to go rounds in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Series. His excellent track record in qualifying this year has proved it. Heading into the O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend, Stevens is content with his car and isn't looking to change much--except maybe the final result.
"I don't see the need to change anything. The cars are working real good. We have a real good set-up," said Stevens. His Dodge Stratus R/T is also maintained by J&J Racing. "Mark [Ingersoll] has been doing a good job. We've got good power. Allen and I just need to get up on the wheel a little more.
"You try to get everything working together. You try to get the car right, you try to get the power right and you try to get the driver right. When you get all three right, that's when you win races."
Entering the third event in a key six-race stretch, Stevens is in ninth-place, one spot out of the final position to qualify for the NHRA's new Countdown to the Championship playoff system. He knows there is no time like the present to translate those stellar qualifying runs into round wins.
"We started off real well at Englishtown and went to the semis," Stevens said. "It looked good last week at Norwalk, but we would have liked to go a few more rounds. Hopefully, we will turn it around this weekend at Bristol. I've done well here in the past [a runner-up finish in 2005], and I'd like to do the same. Hopefully, Allen and I can get on opposite sides [of the eliminations bracket] and go some rounds and have two cars in the finals."
-credit: team mopar/dsr