Englishtown Pro Stock Preview

JOHNSON HOPES TO WAVE VICTORY FLAG AGAIN FOR DODGE AVENGER FANS ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Some drag racers have career years. In Virginia, independent Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson had a career day. The Greeneville, Tenn. racer drove...

JOHNSON HOPES TO WAVE VICTORY FLAG AGAIN FOR DODGE AVENGER FANS ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -- Some drag racers have career years. In Virginia, independent Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson had a career day. The Greeneville, Tenn. racer drove his Amoco Dodge Avenger to victory, the first for a Dodge since 1997 in Topeka, Kan., defeating the Pontiac Firebird driven by upstart Richie Stevens. Besides the win, Johnson accomplished a couple of important feats. He became the first Dodge Pro Stock driver to run quicker than 6.90 seconds and faster than 200 mph. "I'm still on cloud nine," said Johnson, who will lead Pro Stock drivers into competition at the 30th annual Mopar Parts Nationals, May 20-23, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race is the eighth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. "Winning that race really meant a lot," Johnson added. "I had all my family there, so it will always be a special moment for me. We had some luck that helped us along during the day to get by a few rounds. The final was just a good old drag race, real close. We've worked real hard for this moment for a lot of years." About 22 to be exact. Johnson, who competed with father/crew chief Roy for many years in sportsman competition before turning pro, started his Pro Stock career in 1995. Johnson says the hard times he's gone through getting to this point have been well worth it. "That weekend is definitely the biggest of my career," said Johnson, 39. "All that we accomplished there is amazing. We've been working very hard for it and everything finally came together. We got the 6.80 e.t., the 200 mph speed and the victory. When I got home after the race I had over 130 e-mail messages from fans. There's been a lot of support for us over the years and a lot of people were happy to see us finally get that win." That win may have come a little quicker if Johnson hadn't been dealt a bad luck blow at Gainesville, Fla.'s Mac Tools Gatornationals. That was actually the first time he made the video highlights this season, but for all the wrong reasons. His car got loose and went out of control in the first round of eliminations, spinning and flipping end-over-end in one of the most violent crashes in NHRA history. Before the crash, he was qualified No. 2 with a career-best elapsed time and speed. "We felt like we could have won at Gainesville because we were so good there," Johnson said. "I had Greg (Anderson) covered in that first round and then wrecked. But I was real lucky in that situation because even though the wreck looked so violent, it didn't hurt the engine. Dale (Eicke, engine builder) had another car for me. It took some long hours at the shop, but we were back for the next race at Houston. Even though I crashed, there was a lot of luck going on there in other areas. It definitely set us back, but it wasn't as bad as it looked. I guess everything happens for a reason." Sitting a comfortable fifth in the Winston point standings, Johnson is ready for more good things to happen. He wants to start with a victory at the Mopar Parts Nationals. "Just being in the top 10 is a dream come true," Johnson said. "To only be a few points out of third is unbelievable. It's so competitive in Pro Stock that you feel like you've won the championship if you're in the top 10. Hopefully we can move closer to the top by winning at Englishtown."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Allen Johnson