Team Mopar Driver Johnson Powers to Fourth Consecutive Pole at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson will start No. 1 for the fifth time in his career at Bandimere Speedway
The top spot at Bandimere is the 30th career pole for Johnson
Johnson, the four-time and defending event winner, will have a bye run in the first round tomorrow as he shoots for the victory and his seventh consecutive final-round appearance at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
2012 Denver runner-up and Lakewood, Colo. native V. Gaines will start second in his Mopar-fueled Dodge Avenger and face Steve Kalkowski in the opening stanza
Johnson’s J&J Racing stablemates Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Vincent Nobile are part of a six-car Dodge Avenger group that will fight for the Mopar Mile-High win
Jack Beckman was quickest of a five-strong Mopar HEMI-powered Funny Car contingent and will race out of the No. 2 spot on Sunday
Morrison, Colo. (Saturday, July 20, 2013) – For the fourth consecutive year and fifth time in his career, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson will lead the Pro Stock field into the elimination rounds at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Johnson secured the No. 1 spot on Saturday at Bandimere Speedway, marking the 30th pole in his 18-year career. The Team Mopar veteran will have the chance to advance to his seventh straight final-round appearance at Bandimere Speedway on Sunday, as well as claim his second-straight victory and fifth overall at Thunder Mountain. In Funny Car, 2012 event winner Jack Beckman was best of the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T bunch and will start second.
Johnson captured the top spot in his Mopar Express Lane race machine in the second session on Friday with a 6.949–second elapsed time at 198.23 mph, and in the two final attempts on Saturday no driver was able to knock the king of Thunder Mountain off his throne. The Greeneville, Tenn. native posted a 7.107/197.59 pass in his first Saturday qualifying attempt, and a session-quickest 6.982 run in his final qualifying effort. Johnson is now tied with Warren Johnson (no relation) for second all-time in Pro Stock No. 1 Qualifier spots at Bandimere Speedway.
“We were able to secure No. 1 qualifier last year during Mopar’s 75th anniversary, and win the race, and this year we’re No. 1 for their 25th anniversary as the title sponsor of the event, so we want to go out there tomorrow and secure that win again,” said Johnson. “Doing anything great here in front of Mopar is just awesome. Getting the pole is just the start — we have to have a long day tomorrow. We got a good car, got a good crew — we’re just on top of the ‘Mountain.’
“We felt a little better about Jeggy’s (teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.) car that last pass; we got it to run good and do well. I think we’ve got a really good race day set up with that last fast run, with Jeg’s car and mine, and Vincent didn’t run too bad. We’ve got four or five fast Mopars in this crowd. Hopefully every one of them can do well and we can have two Mopars in the final.”
Crowd favorite, Lakewood, Colo. native and Mopar-powered Pro Stocker V. Gaines (6.970) will start second tomorrow and match up with Steve Kalkowski in the opening round. Deric Kramer (6.982), another Colorado son, will line up his Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger No. 5 versus Steve Kent to start off Sunday.
Johnson’s J&J Racing team will field three strong entries in the quest to bring Mopar home a victory on the brand’s 25th anniversary as title sponsor of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. Four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion and Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.996) posted his best run of the weekend in the final qualifying session and will battle out of the No. 9 spot against current points leader Mike Edwards in a monster opening-round fight. The third member of the J&J Racing trio, Vincent Nobile (7.005), posted his Dodge Avenger 11th and will draw Greg Anderson in tomorrow’s first stanza. Matt Hartford (7.058) ended the day 13th in his Dodge and will go head-to-head with Rickie Jones in the first round.
Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Funny Car driver Jack Beckman is in strong position to defend his 2012 win and capture a third career overall triumph at Bandimere. Beckman (4.097) will begin Sunday eliminations from the No. 2 spot and face Terry Haddock in round one. Beckman’s DSR Mopar-powered Dodge teammates Ron Capps (4.152), the No. 8 qualifier, and Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar DSR Dodge pilot Matt Hagan (4.158) , No. 9 and the current points leader, will see who has the quickest Mopar in a first-round showdown. Johnny Gray (4.168), a four-time winner thus far in 2013, will race from the No. 10 position in his Dodge against Robert Hight, and Jeff Arend (4.360), the No. 14 starter, will draw Tim Wilkerson.