Momentum can be everything when chasing points in any kind of motorsports and Tennessee based NHRA Driver Allen Johnson knows all too well that there is never a good time to slip when competing at the hardcore professional level of NHRA Pro Stock and seeking to earn points in the 2011 edition of the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
Allen Johnson wins K&N Horsepower Challenge in Sanoma
Allen Johnson at 2010 K&N Horsepower Challenge
"If you mess up a couple of races it costs you a bunch of points," explained Johnson. "You know that's what happened to me during the last Challenge and cost me the number two position when we DNQ'ed at both Richmond and Reading and that cost me at least 180 points and I would have ended up number two for this past challenge other than that."
During the second event of the "Western Swing" held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, and the third qualifying event for the next K&N Horsepower Challenge, Johnson had just come off of a healthy number three qualifying spot the prior weekend in Seattle, but like many drivers, looking for the pole position and the max points qualifying available for the Challenge.
The results from the first Pro Stock qualifying session on Friday afternoon found powerhouse Mike Edwards and his Penhall/K&N/Interstate Batteries GXP grabbing the top spot with his 6.600 elapsed time and Allen Johnson close on his heals at number two.
With an adjusted altitude of 400 feet and a comfortable track temperature of 80, conditions peaked for qualifying during session number two on Friday evening and that gave Johnson's Mopar all it needed to sail by Edwards for number one when he posted a 6.545 at 210.77 MPH. Not only was the pass more than good enough for the top spot but also reset both ends of the Infineon Raceway tracks records in the process.
Wanting to at minimum repeat his performance during the first session on Saturday, knowing conditions would be very similar for Sunday's eliminations, Johnson was very disappointed with his 6.60 effort.
"The conditions were quite a bit worse on Saturday," reflected Johnson. "Mike [Edwards] tried to get it back but he came up just a few thou short."
When qualifying came to an end, Johnson had held on to number one, making it his third pole of the 2010 season.
Although still very early in the season for the 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge, points earned now are just as important as points earned in later events and Johnson is pleased to be sitting on top, a position he hopes to hold on to.
"Getting it started out right is very important in the whole deal," said Johnson. "We look at the K&N points very closely and to make sure we are in the K&N shootout for next year."
Johnson is very much looking forward to his chances at the next and final event on the "Western Swing" as the NHRA professional teams move on to Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, just outside Denver, for the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
"Denver has been very good to us, and we have won the Mopar event the last two out of three years and I'm going into it as the defending champion," smiled Johnson. "A number one qualifier and a win at our sponsor's race is what we hope to accomplish."
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