During one of the most exciting events each season for the NHRA Pro Stock class, the 2013 K&N Horsepower Challenge more than lived up to its long history of exhilarating rounds of racing. Just as the elite eight Pro Stock drivers all had their eye on the $50,000 check to the champion, the eight K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes finalists were quite enthusiastic in their chances of winning the keys to the special edition 2013 Toyota Tundra.
2013 K&N Horsepower Challenge Champion Allen Johnson and Sweepstakes grand prize winner Vincent Jardine
Vincent Jardine won the 2013 K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes after a race win by Allen Johnson
Vincent Jardine, of Rockland, Illinois was the lucky finalist who was paired with 2008 K&N Horsepower Challenge champ and 2013 K&N Horsepower Challenge top seed, Allen Johnson. Thanks to Johnson’s second career K&N Horsepower Challenge victory, during the shootout event held during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Jardine instantly became the proud new owner of one fine looking brand new Toyota Tundra.
Jardine, who spends his days as a fork lift operator for Chrysler, loading body parts into a robot that does welds and makes part of the car, had never entered the K&N contest before. “My wife got me started on it actually. She had been entering it, so I thought why not, I would this year, too.”
“I used to watch drag racing a very long time ago, probably about twenty years ago. But I’ve never been to a race,” he admitted. “I had always wanted to go, but just didn’t. Well, after this one let me tell you, I’m totally hooked.”
Vincent Jardine is handed the keys to his special edition 2013 Toyota Tundra, the K&N Horsepower Challange Sweepstakes Grand Prize
Just as in previous seasons, fans simply entered on K&N’s website for a chance to be selected in the random drawing as one of the eight finalists in the K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes. Jardine was quite surprised when he received the call that he would soon be flying to Las Vegas to take part in the festivities and the shot at the grand prize. “I was at work when I got the call,” he explained. “It was hard for me to hear and all I could really hear was the part about winning a trip to Vegas. I had to walk outside of the plant to be able to hear what the call was really about and she then told me about my chances to win a truck. I thought awesome, I’ve always wanted a truck my whole life and I’ve never had one.”
“When I called my wife and told her that I had just got a call from K&N and that we were going to Vegas, she was really excited,” he added.
Once at the event, Jardine joined his fellow finalists to be paired with one of the eight NHRA Pro Stock drivers who would be competing in the Challenge. “Oh, everybody was so nice and we all got along so well and just had a great time,” he explained. “I actually made a couple of new friends while I was there. This whole experience was awesome and a once in a lifetime ordeal. Not very many folks can say they got to go to the drags like this and win a truck. We had such a wonderful time thanks to everyone at K&N being so awesome, they are really a class act.”
When it comes to the K&N Horsepower Challenge, any of the racers could win the event, but when Jardine was paired with the number one qualifier, Allen Johnson, he certainly liked his chances of going home a big winner. “When I looked at all the names that were in for the race and was kind of trying to figure out who I hoped to be paired with, it was Allen Johnson,” he explained. “So when I drew his name, I was totally shocked like there was no way I just drew his name. I was just floored.”
As Allen Johnson made his way through the rounds, Jardine pointed out just how intense the excitement was when he was whisked to the top end of the track to prepare for the final round in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. “Oh it was crazy with the ESPN guys, Toyota and K&N guys down there. I was asking everyone how was I going to know who was winning because I wasn’t going to be able to see the lights on top of the [score]board and they said here, just look at the monitors.”
When Jardine witnessed the final round pairing between Erica Enders-Stevens and Allen Johnson, he could hardly contain the extreme enthusiasm. “When I saw Erica fall behind and Allen take the finish line, I had so many emotions going through me, I was just too excited. I think you could see on ESPN2 that I may have acted like a little bit of a fool,” he laughed. “But there aren’t many times in your life that you get to be that excited and act like I fool, I suppose. I went over and shook my competitor’s hand and you know, we became really good friends that weekend. I actually wanted Glen to ride in the new truck with me back up when we went in front of the crowd, but [laughs] they said he could ride in it another time.”
“Allen and his whole team were just so hospitable to us the whole weekend,” he added. “Thanks to this spectacular opportunity we won from K&N, we are already looking forward to our next drag race. Allen already got us tickets for the NHRA race that’s close to home in Joliet. I can’t wait for it to be June and get to go back.”
“I can’t thank everyone at K&N and Toyota enough,” he stressed. “This is an experience that I will hold dear and cherish for many years to come.”
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