Allen Johnson Gains Ground in K&N Horsepower Challenge Standings After Repeat Pole in Sonoma

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Allen Johnson at the 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
Allen Johnson at the 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
NHRA Pro Stock driver, Allen Johnson proved that his team has a tune-up to cover everything from the mountains to the valleys after putting together back-to-back number one qualifiers in Denver and more recently in Sonoma, California, during the 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
Allen Johnson and his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger
Allen Johnson and his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger

Johnson and his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger were out of the gate very strong during the first session and posted a stout 6.576 at 210.37. Johnson's elapsed time was nearly a full four hundredths of a second in front of the second quickest effort of Erica Enders and the only car to make it into the fifties during the session.

The Mopar team was far from through and the evening session actually made for some great numbers from many of the NHRA Pro Stock teams. While seven other teams were able to break into the fifties, Johnson continued to lead the way when he made another huge leap to lower his earlier effort by almost three hundredths when he laid down a 6.547 at 210.50.

"We made a good run, the air was about a thousand foot [corrected altitude] and last year it was about four hundred," said Johnson. "That just goes to show you how much power we have picked up in Pro Stock in a year. If it would have been four hundred, we might have gone a 6.49."

Saturday's first Pro Stock session proved to be the best one for the Tennessee resident. Johnson and his team had managed to find just a little more on both sides of the timeslip, gaining just shy of a hundredth of a second all while boosting their MPH numbers. His 6.538 not only became the new Infineon Pro Stock Track ET Record, but Johnson also reset the MPH Track Record for Pro Stock with his 211.56.

"We had to change motors from last night. We came in the morning and had a little problem, so we had to put the back-up motor in," Johnson said after the track record setting run. "So it felt really good to do that."

Johnson is always quick to point out that his dad, Roy, "has got a handle on those Hemis."

"We've got about three or four we can put in there that'll do about the same thing. It's actually the engine we ran at Denver. We had a new one in for the first two runs that was even better. We carry about seven engines with us, and Vincent [Nobile] runs them, also. But just flip a coin which one you want to put in," he added.

During the fourth and final session, Johnson was off his early set pace and while he managed to stay in the fifties, made only the sixth quickest lap of the pack. 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge Champion, Greg Anderson made the best pass of the session with his 6.566, but was unable to improve on his earlier time and remained in the number two slot for Sunday's eliminations.

"That last run we were just a tick off of what we should have done there. We'll put it back like we did this morning and come back out," Johnson remarked of his final qualifying session numbers and thoughts on Sunday's set up.

Nonetheless of the final session, Allen Johnson and his team remained solidly in the top position on the NHRA Pro Stock qualifying sheet. With the feat Johnson gained the maximum qualifying points for the 2012 K&N Horsepower Challenge and moved just thirty points out of number one, behind current leader, Erica Enders. While the points are extremely important to each and every Pro Stock team, so is the $3,000 Low Qualifier Bonus check awarded to the driver who grabs number one at each and every NHRA National Event.

"The K&N Horsepower Challenge is very important and much appreciated by all the Pro Stock teams," said Johnson. "What K&N continues to do for the sport and our class is fantastic. I hold the K&N Challenge in highest regard to everything, with the exception of the Pro Stock Championship itself."

The NHRA Professional teams will wrap up their three-race-in-a-row "Western Swing" this weekend with the 24th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways just outside of Seattle, Washington. While no Pro Stock driver has a shot a win "sweep" this season, at least Johnson has a shot at sweeping in the number one qualifying department.

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