Team Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson likes Gateway International Raceway, located just outside of St. Louis Johnson has banked two career NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series final round appearances at the venue. The Mopar Dodge Avenger driver will like Gateway a lot more if he can power his way to a third final round visit and a victory this weekend at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Johnson advanced to the 1999 and 2003 final rounds at St. Louis, scoring runner-up finishes. The Greeneville, TN, native has earned one final round appearance this season, at the NHRA Houston event, is second in the Pro Stock point standings and is brimming with confidence heading to Gateway.
“I believe this Mopar Dodge Avenger is the best race car I’ve ever had and the J&J Racing team has just been awesome,” said Johnson. “I think I’ve been doing my job as the driver as well. I’ve been practicing on the tree a lot. I was looking at the results from last year at Gateway when I got beat on a holeshot, so I’m looking to rectify last year’s injustice.”
Johnson’s J&J Racing team supplies the Mopar HEMI engines for Vinnie Deceglie’s Pro Stock team. Deceglie had been competing in a Dodge Stratus following his crash at the NHRA Phoenix event in February, but will be back in a Dodge Avenger at St. Louis, which should also be a boon to Johnson.
“Vinnie’s testing his new Dodge Avenger in Cordova, IL, and Mark [Ingersoll, Johnson’s crew chief] has been there helping out,” said Johnson. “It should assist us to have Vinnie back in an Avenger. It’ll help us gain more data if we’re both in the same car.”
Johnson is in his 15th year behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Pro Stock car. He celebrated his 300th race last year at St. Louis and will earn his 200th career round win if he can claim victory in the first round of eliminations at Gateway.
“I look at every milestone as that I’m fortunate to be able to do it,” Johnson said. “Every milestone I reach, you look and say, ‘Gosh, I can’t believe I’ve won that many rounds, let alone raced that many rounds.’”
Johnson’s Statistics of Note
At Gateway International Raceway
Has two career final round appearances at Gateway
Posted a runner-up finish to Ron Krisher at the 2003 event
Advanced to the final in 1999, falling to Jim Yates
Notched his first final round appearance of the season and 18th of his career at the NHRA Houston event
Advanced to four straight semifinals to start the season in his new Mopar Dodge Avenger
Currently ranked second in the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock point standings
Has a 11-6 round win record through four events
Clinched a spot in the 2009 NHRA Countdown to 1 six-race playoffs
Captured two wins, at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver and O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka
Finished seventh in NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock point standings
Made three finals appearances, scoring a runner-up finish at NHRA Gatornationals
Captured seventh career No. 1 Qualifier Award at NHRA event in Seattle, reaching semis
Made eight semifinals appearances
Posted a 30-20 round win record for the season
Finished seventh in NHRA Pro Stock standings
One of only 10 drivers to qualify for NHRA Countdown to 1 six-race playoffs
Won K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event at Norwalk, recording perfect .000 reaction time to defeat Greg Anderson for victory
Powered to three No. 1 Qualifier Awards
Made eight semifinal appearances
Posted two straight runner-up finishes at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals
Racked up 28-24 round win record
Finished career-best fourth in NHRA Pro Stock point standings
One of only four Pro Stock drivers to qualify for inaugural NHRA Countdown to 1 playoff
Claimed win at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver
Finished sixth in NHRA Pro Stock standings, scoring win at Seattle
Qualified for Countdown to 1 in each of first three years since NHRA adopted playoff format in 2007
Claimed seven career NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock wins
Claimed 199 career round wins
Recorded 18 career final round appearances
Competed in 300th race at 2009 NHRA St. Louis event
Scored second career win at Atlanta in 2002 and finished eighth in point standings
Seized first career win in 1999 at Richmond and went on to claim first top 10 finish in standings
Made NHRA Pro Stock debut in 1996, driving a Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger
AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals
The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals is scheduled to take place April 30May 2 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL. Two hours of qualifying coverage will air on Saturday, May 1, beginning at 9 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. Three hours of eliminations coverage will air on Sunday, May 2, beginning at 7 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. For more information on the NHRA, log on to http://www.nhra.com.
Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand.
Mopar distributes approximately 280,000 parts and accessories in more than 90 countries and is the source for all original-equipment parts for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles. Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide.
When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts maker, supplier and distribution system to support the growing enterprise led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation (CMPC) in 1929.
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for a line of antifreeze products in 1937. It also was widely used as a moniker for the CMPC. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s the muscle-car era. The former 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, in order to enhance speed and handling for vehicles both on the road or at the track.