Mopar Racing–Las Vegas Wrapup

Johnson Earns Second Consecutive NHRA National Title and Third Win at Las Vegas;
Fifth Victory of the 2013 Season for Mopar

·         Johnson defends previous two Las Vegas National titles with a third and posts his 18th career victory to follow-up on his Gatornationals title.
·         National title victory also gives Johnson the “Sweep Bonus” for following up on his K&N Horsepower Challenge win on Saturday
·         Fourth consecutive national event with a Mopar in the final round of eliminations and fifth win of 2013
·         Johnson takes over as leader in the NHRA Pro Stock Championship points
·         Hagan is top Mopar finisher with semi-final appearance to end Mopar’s Funny Car event win streak at two

Las Vegas (Sunday, April 7) – Mopar driver Allen Johnson will be leaving Las Vegas a big winner. Not only did he defend his two previous NHRA National titles at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but by earning his 18th career Pro Stock victory in the new look Mopar Express Lane Dodge, he claimed the jackpot of a $25,000 “Sweep Bonus” to go with his $50,000 win in Saturday’s annual K&N Horsepower Challenge.

It is the fourth consecutive national event in which a Mopar has advanced to the final round of eliminations in either Pro Stock or Funny Car categories. The Nationals win also brings Mopar’s title victories total to five in just the first four races of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Series season.

Johnson’s weekend success comes on the heels of his victory at the Gatornationals, and propels him to the top of the leaderboard in the Pro Stock Championship points standings.

In a repeat of Saturday’s final match up in the annual K&N Horsepower Challenge, Johnson faced Erica Enders-Stevens as his final round elimination opponent with the same result and an elapsed time of 6.713 seconds (206.76 mph).  In previous rounds, Johnson had to defeat his own Mopar teammates, Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin Jr., in order to earn his second win of the year and his third consecutive at the Las Vegas dragstrip.

“It seems like our car really likes altitude tracks, and hats off to my Mopar Express Lane guys for pulling off the sweep today,” said Johnson whose two wins this weekend made it the second year in a row that a HEMI-powered Dodge won both the K&N Horsepower Challenge and the National title after Nobiles’ sweep at Norwalk in 2012. “It’s awesome to win both races. I was asked if this just became my favorite track and I still have to answer that another high altitude track, Denver, is still tops in my books. Not just because it’s Mopar’s title race but probably because I’ve won there four times. But Las Vegas is quickly becoming a favorite after winning it three times now, along with our sweeping the K&N Challenge.”

“All of us at Mopar are thrilled to see Allen (Johnson) return to the winner’s circle for the second consecutive event and defend his titles at Las Vegas,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Allen and the Mopar Express Lane team haven’t stopped working and building on the successes of last year and have set the bar even higher this season. It’s great to watch him continue to contend and take the Championship lead amid some tough Pro Stock competition.”

Coughlin Jr. took the Dodge Avenger to the semifinals for the third time in four races and stands third in the championship points race. Nobile rounds out the top-five on the strength of his win in the season opening race while the HEMI-powered Dodge of V. Gaines is in seventh place.

Don Schumacher Racing winning streak for Mopar Funny Cars ended at two after a good effort by Matt Hagan to drive his ‘Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar’ Dodge Charger R/T past first round opponent Bob Tasca and then his teammate Jack Beckman, only to lose his semi-final match-up against Courtney Force. While Force went on to face eventual title winner Cruz Pedregon, she did take over the lead in the NHRA Funny Car Championship standings.

Hagan maintains his fourth place on the leaderboard splitting the team’s previous two event winners; Johnny Gray is second in the points while Ron Capps who drops to fifth place. Defending Funny Car Champion Jack Beckman has his Dodge Charger eighth in the standings.

Next on the agenda for Mopar teams and drivers is the spectacular Dollar General Four-Wide NHRA Nationals at zMax Dragway in Charlotte on April 19-21, for the fifth of 24 events on the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.