Gainesville: Team Mopar preview

Still Recuperating, Roy Johnson Leads Son Allen Johnson and Stevens Jr. Into Gatornationals * With Johnson's return, his son, Allen Johnson, looks to begin new streak * Phoenix performance has Stevens Jr. feeling confident Center Line, Mich....

Still Recuperating, Roy Johnson Leads Son Allen Johnson and Stevens Jr. Into Gatornationals

* With Johnson's return, his son, Allen Johnson, looks to begin new streak

* Phoenix performance has Stevens Jr. feeling confident

Center Line, Mich. - Less than three weeks ago, Roy Johnson had a massive heart attack. Doctors had to shock him back to life. Johnson comes back to the track this weekend, tuning the engines on the Pro Stock Dodge Stratus R/Ts of Team Mopar's Allen Johnson, his son, and Richie Stevens Jr., at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

"I'm doing just great. I can't tell I've had a heart attack," said Johnson, who suffered the heart attack on Feb. 24 during the NHRA event in Phoenix. "When they shocked me, I had passed out, so I didn't know it was happening. When I woke up I knew about it, because my side was still burning and hurting."

Although nothing could keep Johnson from the track, his quick return to turning wrenches is doctor approved.

"He [Roy's doctor] said that's probably the best thing you can do if you use common sense about it," Roy said. "I think I'll be a little conservative at Gainesville, but I'll be pretty much back to normal. I'm just going to watch what I lift. I can lift; I just can't lift the world. We got back Tuesday from Phoenix after the heart attack. Wednesday morning I was in the shop doing light duty work. I'll be in Thursday afternoon at Gainesville."

With His Father's Return, Allen Johnson Looks to Begin New Streak Johnson's son, Allen Johnson, driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, is glad to have his father where he belongs, at the track working his magic on HEMI engines. [Allen] Johnson failed to qualify for the field at Phoenix, his first DNQ in 42 races, dating back to April 2005, and his father is a crucial component of the team's success.

"He's pretty much back, and he feels better than he's felt in a long time," said [Allen] Johnson, who had a successful outing over the weekend at the Eastern Spring Test Nationals in Valdosta, Ga., defeating teammate Stevens Jr. in the final round of the test session, and taking low qualifier with an ET of 6.667 sec.

"Our whole team is sort of refocused right now," said [Allen] Johnson. "We had to change the way we were doing stuff and start going in a different direction. I think we've done that on the chassis."

[Allen] Johnson will be looking to change his string of bad luck at Gainesville Raceway this weekend.

"I've always really liked Gainesville. Have I ever had any luck there? No," [Allen] Johnson said. "But maybe this is the year. We've got to really turn it up now and get some round wins. You've got to get down the racetrack every run."

***

Phoenix Performance Has Stevens Jr. Feeling Confident

After qualifying 16th and exiting in the first round at the Pomona season opener, Richie Stevens Jr., driver of the Team Mopar\Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T, rebounded at the season's second event in Phoenix. He qualified second behind Jason Line and grabbed his first round win of the year, advancing to the quarterfinals. His strong outing has him feeling good as Gainesville approaches.

"We just missed the top spot at Phoenix," said Stevens, who drives for Don Schumacher Racing. "We were about a hundredth of a second behind Jason [Line, the current Pro Stock points leader], so we showed that we could run with him. We did better at Phoenix, and we feel confident heading into Gainesville."

The importance of the Gatornationals, along with the return of Roy Johnson, has Stevens Jr. focused on going rounds at Gainesville.

"You always want to do well at the Gatornationals," said Stevens. "This race is big, right up there with the U.S. Nationals. You want to give all the fans that come out a good show. And it's great to have Roy back. He's an important piece of the puzzle. He's the brains behind everything; he's the man who makes the power. It would be nice to get a win here, and get him some recognition for all the work he does."

-credit: team mopar

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , Don Schumacher , Roy Johnson