JOHNSON THIRD IN MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS QUALIFYING; HOMETOWN BOY GAINES MAKES FIELD Morrison, Colo. (July 12, 2008) -- Defending event Pro Stock champion and Team MoparÂ® driver Allen Johnson captured the No. 3 spot in qualifying today...
JOHNSON THIRD IN MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS QUALIFYING; HOMETOWN BOY GAINES MAKES FIELD
Morrison, Colo. (July 12, 2008) -- Defending event Pro Stock champion and Team Mopar® driver Allen Johnson captured the No. 3 spot in qualifying today and will face Warren Johnson in the first round of eliminations tomorrow in the 29th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo.
Johnson, who seized the No. 1 Qualifier award and event win at the 2007 Mopar Mile-Highs, entered today's two final qualifying sessions in the top spot but was unable to maintain the position in a fast field that saw the Bandimere Speedway track record fall. Johnson posted his best pass of the two days of qualifying with a run of 7.025/195.34 in the fourth and final qualifying session behind the wheel of his HEMI®-powered Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T.
"I think we learned what we needed to do this afternoon," said Johnson. "The track is just a lot better then you think it is. It was really good today. I think we underestimated it both runs. It'd be good to take Warren out in the first round in the Mopar race. As long as I do my job we can handle it. We're going to go out there and try to win one for all the Mopar folks who are here."
Johnson also captured the Full Throttle Pit Crew event award with his qualifying performance at the Mopar Mile-Highs, and his J&J Racing team now leads the overall Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship standings. The year-end Pro Stock champion takes home a purse of $15,000.
"It's just awesome," said Johnson. "It shows the consistency in performance of the entire team. We've been fantastic in qualifying throughout the year. I'm amazed we haven't won a race yet this year. I think that might change this week."
Local favorite V. Gaines will also go for the Pro Stock win on Sunday. The Denver area business owner qualified No. 16 in his Mopar-powered Kendall Oil Dodge Stratus R/T.
"The home race is always tough because it's always hard to concentrate. The Mile-High altitude also present challenges. Last year we didn't qualifying here, so we were trying to make an improvement. We made a little improvement. We ran faster in every qualifying round, but everyone else ran faster too."
Larry Morgan, coming off a runner-up finish in the NHRA Norwalk race, will start No. 6 in his Lucas Oil Dodge Stratus R/T.
"We just hunkered down, put our heads together and just figured things out," said Morgan. "To be No. 6 here, it's good for Mopar, good for Lucas, and good for our team. We couldn't be any happier."
Justin Humphreys at No. 8, Rickie Jones at No. 12 and Johnny Gray at No. 15 round out the HEMI-powered Dodge Stratus R/T cars in the Mopar Mile-High Nationals Pro Stock field.