The perfect ending for Team Mopar driver and NHRA POWERade Pro Stock veteran Allen Johnson’s 2008 season would be celebrating his first ever NHRA Pro Stock championship. Coming in a close second would be a triumph at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals scheduled for Aug. 27 Sept. 1 at O’Reilly (IN) Raceway Park.
A U.S. Nationals win would be a treasured addition to the resume of any drag racer, including the driver of the HEMI-powered Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock car.
“It would be almost as important as winning the championship to get a win at Indy,” said Johnson, who posted a 2007 quarterfinals appearance and 2006 semifinals showing at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. “But I really don’t approach the race that much different from any others, even though you’re always aware and know about the prestige of the event. Just to have your name in the record books would be huge.”
Important as a U.S. Nationals victory would be, Johnson’s ultimate focus is preparing for the six-race NHRA Countdown to 1 playoffs. The playoffs begin at the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals in Charlotte on Sept. 11.
“More than anything, we’re just looking to get some momentum for the Countdown, and just cap off the regular season well,” said Johnson. “I think we’ve already got our momentum started. It would be nice to go up a leg or two on the competition going into Charlotte.”
Heading into the biggest race of the year as well as the start of the Countdown, Johnson and his J&J Racing team [led by engine builder Roy Johnson (Johnson’s father) and crew chief Mark Ingersoll] are doing the exact thing every championship team must do: Peak at the perfect moment.
“It was our plan all along,” said Johnson, who has advanced to at least the semifinals in four of his last five events, including two runner-up finishes. “Dad has been making great power with the Mopar HEMI engine. We wanted to have the right combination, the right ingredients in the car going into these last events before the Countdown. And we did it. We’ve followed our game plan to the ‘T,’ and hopefully it pays off.”
Qualified No. 4 and advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2007 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Has advanced to at least the semifinals in four of his last five races
Has a total of six 2008 semifinals appearances
linched a berth for the NHRA Countdown to 1 six-race playoff with a semifinals appearance at the NHRA Brainerd event
Posted two straight runner-up finishes at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals in July
Currently fifth in the NHRA Pro Stock standings
Has a 21-17 round win record through 17 events
Banked $50,000 with the K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event win [June 2008 NHRA stop in Norwalk, Ohio] recorded a perfect .000 reaction time to beat Greg Anderson
Currently, Johnson’s J&J Racing team is third in the points standings of the NHRA Pro Stock Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship
Qualified in the top half of the field in 15 of 17 2008 NHRA POWERade events to date
Advanced to at least the quarterfinals in 13 of 17 2008 NHRA POWERade events to date
Has appeared in 14 career final rounds
Claimed his fourth career No. 1 qualifier award at the 2008 Phoenix event
Finished fourth in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock points standings
One of only four Pro Stock drivers to qualify for inaugural NHRA Countdown to 1 playoff
Captured his 5th-career win at the 28th Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals in July 2007
Posted two runner-up finishes in 2007
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is scheduled for Aug. 27 Sept. 1 at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Qualifying coverage will air at 12:30 to 1:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, Aug. 31 on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. Eliminations coverage will air at noon to 2 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, Sept. 1 on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. For more info on the NHRA, log on to www.nhra.com.
70 Years of Mopar
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts manufacturer, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Originally used in the 1920s, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It was also widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s the muscle car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “Special Parts” for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use.
Today, Chrysler LLC’s Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to Chrysler Engineering standards.