TEAM MOPAR'SÂ® PRO STOCK PAIR CONTINUES TWO-TEAM APPROACH IN 2007 Center Line, Mich. -- Team MoparÂ® Pro Stockers Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., who joined forces last year to power Stevens Jr. to two wins in the last five events, will ...
TEAM MOPAR'S® PRO STOCK PAIR CONTINUES TWO-TEAM APPROACH IN 2007
Center Line, Mich. -- Team Mopar® Pro Stockers Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens Jr., who joined forces last year to power Stevens Jr. to two wins in the last five events, will attempt to repeat their successful partnership in 2007. The duo will go into battle together again at this weekend's season opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
Stevens Jr., driver of the Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T owned by Don Schumacher Racing, tasted victory at Dallas and Las Vegas last year with Johnson. Johnson and his father, Roy Johnson, are co-owners of Johnson & Johnson Racing and tuned the HEMI®s of Stevens Jr.'s car. Johnson also excelled in 2006 in his Mopar/Johnson & Johnson Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, taking a win at Seattle and finishing sixth in the final NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. Together, Stevens Jr., and Johnson are looking to wage a double-barreled assault on the NHRA Pro Stock Series in 2007.
RICHIE STEVENS JR. AND ALLEN JOHNSON ON THE 2007 SEASON
Both Stevens Jr. and Johnson feel the two-team approach is the way to go in today's ultra-competitive Pro Stock Series, where mere thousandths of a second make the difference between winning and losing.
"In the past couple of years, two-car teams have pretty much dominated Pro Stock and won the championships," said Stevens Jr., who will drive a Dodge Stratus R/T with a paint scheme provided by Valspar's "House of Kolor," as will Johnson. "As a team, maybe Allen or I can go out and do that this year. We should be able to give some of these top-notch teams a run for their money."
"It means a lot to my dad and the crew chief [Mark Ingersoll] to have double the data, both on engines and cars," said Johnson. "If I'm the first one out and we miss [the setup] just a little, usually Richie will make a perfect run. And if it [the setup] worked for Richie's car, the next round I'll make a perfect run. Also, a little bit of additional funding through merging forces helps us have a little more money to spend to do R&D work on the engines, and that pays dividends."
The J&J crew's outstanding performance and teamwork in the last half of 2006 has Johnson and Stevens Jr. feeling confident as the season-opening event approaches.
"The power that Roy Johnson is making is unbelievable," Stevens Jr. said. "The consistent qualifying, which comes from having good power, has been a real big plus. It takes team chemistry to make things work, which J&J definitely has. It builds confidence, when you go up there and you know that you have a team that is behind you and supporting you. I feel really relaxed with them behind me."
"Dad [Roy] has done a real good job on the engines, so I feel confident," said Johnson. "I think we've got our attack together on the chassis and track setup a lot better than we did going into the start of last year."
"I'm ready," said an excited Stevens Jr. "I almost didn't want last year to end, as well as we were doing toward the end of the season. It was kind of hard to say goodbye, with both me and Allen doing great. I had the best last quarter of all the seasons I've driven. We'll just try to pick up where we left off last year. I feel confident about the season. We did some testing last month in Valdosta [Ga.], and everything went good. I'm feeling pretty pumped about it. I hope one of us can leave Pomona with the points lead."