Tennessee based Allen Johnson has been showing numerous signs over the last several months of his team's crucial power gains in their Team Mopar Dodge Avenger along with their hopes of being the newest NHRA Pro Stock powerhouse.
The first qualifying session was all that Johnson needed to get his bearings straight on what it would take to make his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger happy.
Allen Johnson and the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger.
His most recent accomplishments, in that department, would come during the final event on the NHRA's "Western Swing". Johnson not only nearly dominated during all four of the Pro Stock qualifying sessions, but also persevered through the elimination rounds on Sunday to secure his first event victory of the 2010 season at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
The weekend didn't start of for Johnson quite as it ended high on the mountain. During the first qualifying session his Dodge Avenger was only able to muster a 7.063 elapsed time, which garnered him the number two spot just behind Mike Edwards.
"Not testing there really cost us that first pass," said Johnson. "We didn't have any data for that track this year, so we just started with where we ended last year. That wasn't quite good enough for the first pass."
"From there we honed in on it though," Johnson added.
While the air temperature and humidity during the weekend wasn't all that bad compared to what the teams have run in at other events during the season, it was extremely low barometer. Due to the Bandimere Speedway's high altitude the barometer hovers in the low 24" range. This causes the tuning of the naturally aspirated Pro Stock engines to be so much different than many other events, especially when the adjusted altitude on the weather gauges soared well above 9,500 feet, more than double, if not triple the "air" of most facilities on the NHRA tour.
The first qualifying session was all that Johnson needed to get his bearings straight on what it would take to make his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger happy. With the very next qualifying session Friday evening, he moved up to the pole position and never looked back.
It was during session number two that Johnson began a trend that he carried throughout the remainder of qualifying, continuously improving upon his previous numbers and outrunning the entire Pro Stock field each and every time.
In the fourth session, Johnson posted a 6.966 at 198.64 MPH and a new track speed record.
"We are hitting our peak right about the right time, it seems like," noted Johnson. "If we can just keep going, keep the engine solid and keep me solid in the driving compartment, I really think we have something for them."
The K&N Horsepower Challenge offers the top qualified Pro Stock team at each event bonus money and points based on position. At the end of the Challenge qualifying season, the top eight qualified teams will spar off for the biggest single payday in all of NHRA Pro Stock and a shot at $50,000 for the event champion.
Just four events into the 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge, Johnson has already started to put a little room between his current number one spot and the driver sitting at number two, Jeg Coughlin, albeit thirty-five points.
"The Horsepower Challenge is very important to us," conveyed Johnson. "What K&N does for us and the money they put up for first place [qualifying] each week and just the prestige of running in the K&N event is very-very important to me. The qualifying points each week are huge toward that, so we are working toward that always."
With the Pro Stock pole at Denver, Johnson and his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger have now racked up back-to-back number one qualifying positions, most notably a feat no other Pro Stock driver other then Mike Edwards has accomplished in quite some time.
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