Denver: Allen Johnson final report

King of the Mountain: Mopar®'s Allen Johnson Triumphs at 30th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals Morrison, Colo. (July 12, 2009) -- Team Mopar® driver Allen Johnson drove to his seventh career victory and second of 2009, beating Jason Line...

King of the Mountain: Mopar®'s Allen Johnson Triumphs at 30th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals

Morrison, Colo. (July 12, 2009) -- Team Mopar® driver Allen Johnson drove to his seventh career victory and second of 2009, beating Jason Line in the final round of eliminations today at the 30th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Johnson scored his second win in three years at the headline event for his primary sponsor Mopar. The performance also marked Johnson's third straight appearance in the finals of the Mopar Mile-Highs.

Starting from the No. 2 spot, Johnson dueled with Mopar-powered compatriot Danny Gruninger in the first round. Johnson overcame Gruninger's blistering .006 reaction time off the starting line (.000 is perfect) with a 6.998/196.64 run in his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T to capture the round win--the 175th of his career. Johnson next bested his J&J Racing partner, Johnny Gray, in the quarterfinals, recording the quickest run of the round with a pass of 7.008/196.64 to the HEMI®-powered Gray's 7.045/195.36 run.

Johnson drew his third straight Mopar vs. Mopar pairing in the semis, facing 22-year-old Mopar-fueled driver Rickie Jones. A.J. edged out the budding Pro Stock star, posting a 6.989/196.79 run to Jones' 7.104/195.14.

The finals saw Johnson square off against Line in a rematch of the Gainesville final earlier in the year, as skies darkened and the track temperature cooled. This time it was Johnson seizing the holeshot win, with a reaction time of .029 paired with a run of 7.004/195.87 to Line's slower .050 start and 7.001/195.76 mark.

"First round, I had the worst case of butterflies I think I've ever had in my life," said Johnson. "In the second round I was a little less [nervous], and in the semis I really settled down and said, 'We've got the combination.' We test here, we test our butts off for Mother Mopar, so we can come up here and do well. It feels so awesome to come up here, develop a plan, work at it and succeed at it. We just found a combination that works, and we stuck with it and got better at it. It looks like Mike [Edwards] sort of found it this year, too. We were probably lucky he got beat early, because he would have been a very, very tough opponent in the finals. All that hard work in testing, it's just worth it. This venue is so different. You've got to really test here a lot."

Johnson, who has worked hard on improving his reaction time off the starting line, took special joy in his holeshot win.

"It's awesome ... for me to be able to do my job," said Johnson. "To be driving well again and to get it on a holeshot feels very, very good. This was huge, bringing this home for all the folks from Mopar who came out to Denver to support us. It's always special to win your sponsor's race. I love Denver. We've got a combination here that's really hard to beat."

Next up for Johnson and the Mopar/J&J Racing squad is the second leg of the NHRA Western Swing, the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Wash., July 17--19.

-credit: mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Allen Johnson , Johnny Gray , Rickie Jones , Danny Gruninger