Allen Johnson Hopes for a Miracle While Richie Stevens Jr. Has His Eyes on Top Ten Prize at Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Center Line, Mich. -- Team MoparÂ® Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson is a distant fourth in the new NHRA...
Allen Johnson Hopes for a Miracle While Richie Stevens Jr. Has His Eyes on Top Ten Prize at Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar® Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson is a distant fourth in the new NHRA POWERade Countdown to 1 championship playoffs entering the season finale this weekend at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. Although his title chances may be bleak, Johnson isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Johnson's teammate, Richie Stevens Jr., didn't qualify for the Countdown, but the competitive nature of the New Orleans native has him focused on holding off V. Gaines for the ninth spot in the final Pro Stock points. A ninth-place result would give Stevens six career top 10 finishes in the final season standings.
Last shot a long shot for Allen Johnson at Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
Johnson qualified eighth last weekend at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Unfortunately, Johnson's fellow Countdown competitor, Jeg Coughlin, timed in at the ninth spot, setting up a critical first-round battle that didn't go Johnson's way. The Greeneville, Tenn. native fell 103 points behind leader Greg Anderson with the first-round exit, and also trails Jeg Coughlin and Dave Connolly heading into the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals this weekend. Johnson needs a mistake-free weekend--and a mistake-filled weekend from his other three Countdown competitors--if he is to have any hopes of bringing home his first career Pro Stock title.
"Hopefully these other boys will lose in the first round," said Johnson, driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T. "We'll go in a few rounds down, but maybe we have a shot at it.
"We'll go for it. We'll go out there and try to win the race. Hopefully some of these other guys will have some bad luck.
"I've been to the finals there [Pomona] before. We do okay out there. We'll go out and get after it. There's nothing to lose now. We'll just have to see what happens."
Richie Stevens Jr. is still fighting for every inch entering Pomona season finale
The 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock campaign has been a difficult one for Stevens. Scoring his first win of the season and claiming the ninth spot in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings this weekend at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals would help to ease the sting of his struggle a bit.
Whether or not he breaks through for his first win, one thing is for certain--there is no quit in Richie Stevens Jr.
"I just want to win. I've got one shot left," said Stevens, pilot of the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T. "I want to hold off V. [Gaines, tenth in the points standings].
"I can do no better than ninth, so I'd like to keep that nine spot. Of course you want to finish the best as possible. I'll go out there and try to win. I've won this race before in California [in 1998], but it's been a few years.
"Hopefully we'll go out here and have the same performance in qualifying that we had at Las Vegas [last weekend, where Stevens qualified sixth]. We'll have a good car and try to do again what we did there before."