The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will see Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson take the wheel of a fresh yet also familiar ride. The NHRA Pro Stock veteran began his career in 1996 driving a Dodge Avenger and he will happily return to the car that started it all when he pilots his new 2010 Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger in its competition debut at the 50th Annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals. The historic event is scheduled to take place Feb. 1114 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (CA).
Johnson will also celebrate his 15th year on the NHRA Pro Stock circuit in 2010. The J&J Racing team owner and driver’s entire career has been spent behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered pro stocker. He previously competed in a Dodge Avenger from 19962000, capturing his first career win in 1999 at Richmond. Johnson is excited to debut his new Mopar HEMI-powered ride.
“It’s a treat to still be with Mopar after all these years and also to be back in the Dodge Avenger,” said Johnson, who finished seventh in the 2009 point standings, his fourth consecutive top-10 points finish. “This new version of the Dodge Avenger puts us in a car that is going to be ultra-competitive as far as aero goes. We’re as good as the other guys. I feel like it’s the best car we’ve ever had. ”
Johnson, winner of two events in 2009, the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka and the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, spent most of his off-season dialing in the Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger. Johnson also teamed up in test sessions with fellow Pro Stocker Vinnie Deceglie. The Mopar-powered Deceglie will campaign in 2010 with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by J&J Racing engine builder Roy Johnson. Deceglie’s team will work closely with the J&J Racing squad and Mark Ingersoll, Allen Johnson’s crew chief.
“We will work in tandem with Vinnie’s team,” said Allen Johnson. “They’re planning to run only 15 races, but if we can get Vinnie out strong early and up in the points, they might just do it all year.”
Johnson and his J&J Racing crew tuned up for the Winternationals during testing at the Pro Stock Showdown in Las Vegas last weekend, qualifying second in the new Mopar Dodge Avenger with an ET of 6.684. Deceglie was fourth in his Avenger with an ET of 6.709. Johnson believes his Mopar Dodge will be formidable out of the box in its competition debut at Pomona: “The new car will compete just as well as the Dodge Stratus did, right out of the gate at Pomona, if not better.”
The Greeneville, TN, native is mindful of the legends who have made their mark at the Winternationals. A victory at the event’s historic 50th anniversary would be a “golden” finish to Johnson’s first race in his new ride.
“To be part of the 50th anniversary is big for the entire team,” said Johnson. “The first memory I have of the event is looking up the track and seeing the snow-covered mountains, while you’ve got on a short-sleeve shirt. To a Tennessee boy, a country boy, that was pretty awesome. It would be an absolute dream come true to get my first win at Pomona in the new Mopar Dodge Avenger this weekend.”
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