Joliet: Team Mopar preview

Team Mopar®'s Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr. Are Looking to Pad Their Point Totals at The Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals * Allen Johnson wants to put distance between himself and eighth place * Richie Stevens Jr. wants to gain...

Team Mopar®'s Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr. Are Looking to Pad Their Point Totals at The Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals

* Allen Johnson wants to put distance between himself and eighth place
* Richie Stevens Jr. wants to gain consistency

Center Line, Mich. -- With one of the premier events in the NHRA series coming up this weekend -- The Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals -- the Team Mopar® NHRA POWERade Pro Stock duo of Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., will be looking to add to their point totals and continue their march up the standings in the NHRA Pro Stock category. The event is this weekend, June 7--10, 2007, at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

After qualifying third in his HEMI®-powered Mopar/J & J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T in Topeka, Kan. Last weekend, Johnson won his first elimination round match against Justine Humphries before going out against Jason Line in the second round. Stevens qualified his Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T eighth but red lighted in his first round match.

Stevens Jr. currently stands 10th in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings, while Johnson has come from as far back as 16th to currently hold sixth in the points race. With the Countdown to 4 present in their minds, Johnson and Stevens will continue to battle their way up the points ladder this weekend at Route 66 Raceway. NHRA POWERade's new points playoff system cuts the field down to the top eight drivers after the 17th race, and down to the top four drivers for the Countdown to 1 after the 21st event.

Allen Johnson wants to put distance between himself and eighth place Just one point out of fifth place, Allen Johnson wants to continue his strong showing in the NHRA POWERade series in 2007 at the Route 66 Raceway this weekend in order to ensure his place in the NHRA's Countdown to 4.

Johnson believed he had a good opportunity to pile up more points at Topeka last week, but blamed himself for his second round elimination. "We had a real fast car," Johnson said, "But the driver didn't do his job." He continued, "If I had just made an average start, I would have been OK."

Johnson wants to do better this weekend -- he enjoys competing at the Route 66 Raceway. "To me, this is one of the premier tracks in the country," Johnson said. "Next to Indy, this is the biggest event of the year and since I've run pretty well here in the past, I see no reason why we can't have even more success this weekend."

Another incentive for doing well this weekend is that the NHRA King Demon Crown event takes center stage. The King Demon Crown showcases the eight best Pro Stock qualifiers during a 22-race span between the 2006 Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals and the 2007 O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals. Johnson, who's third in the King Demon Crown standings, will compete with seven other drivers for a purse of $76,000.

"It would be extra special to do well in the King Demon Crown race this year," Johnson said. "We've been in the finals of this event four times, so we're hoping that 2007 is the year we finally break through."

Richie Stevens Jr. wants to gain consistency After a disappointing performance at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals last weekend, it's clear to Richie Stevens Jr. where the key to success lies. "We need to be more consistent," Stevens said.

The weekend started with great promise as Stevens qualified eighth in the tough and competitive Pro Stock category. "Finishing in the top eight was important because lane choice was critical," Stevens explained. "I was pretty confident going in because I knew we had a fast car. It was just up to me to get the job done. Unfortunately, I was a little too aggressive, a little too quick, and I red lighted."

He continued, "What makes it harder to swallow is that my opponent broke down right at the start and, of course, if I had known that was going to happen, I could have eased up a bit. But you can't take that chance--you have to go all out, all the time. And I was only three-thousandths of a second from having a perfect start, so it wasn't like I was way off. It's just a disappointing way to go out."

For this week in Joliet, Stevens feels he'll be ready to keep moving up. "We've been doing a lot of testing along with Allen Johnson's car," Stevens said. "AJ has got his running great and we want to get ours to the same point. That's what I mean about gaining consistency. Once we get to that level, we can tune off of each other to better prepare for each race."

Stevens concluded, "Consistency is the key to winning. Don't get me wrong--having a fast car helps. But if you can't be consistent every time you go down the track, you're going to have a difficult time winning anything."

-credit: mopar/dsr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Allen Johnson , Jason Line