Mopar Racing–Team Mopar Driver Johnson to Start No. 2 at 54th Annual NHRA Winternationals

Team Mopar Driver Johnson to Start No. 2 at 54th Annual NHRA Winternationals
•              Allen Johnson will post his Mopar Dodge Avenger against Larry Morgan in the Pro Stock opening round
•              Mopar-powered V. Gaines gets off to a solid start in the No. 4 position at Pomona
•              Defending NHRA Pro Stock Champ Coughlin will start from no.8 spot
•              Five Mopar HEMI-fueled Dodge Avengers will battle in Pro Stock eliminations
•              Ron Capps starts No. 5 and will lead seven HEMI-powered Dodge Charger R/Ts into the Funny Car fray
•              Matt Hagan will commence eliminations No. 10 in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car

Pomona, Calif. (Saturday, Feb. 8) – Mopar Dodge Avenger NHRA Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson improved his qualifying numbers in both rounds on Saturday to start from the No. 2 spot and face Larry Morgan when elimination rounds begin on Sunday, Feb. 9, for the season-opening 54th Annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

In the first qualifying session on Saturday Johnson was shuffled from the top spot he claimed on Friday with a 6.517-second run at 212.53 mph, but the Greeneville, Tenn. native and J&J Racing team owner promptly reclaimed his position with a 6.514/212.96 pass. Bumped down once again in the fourth and final qualifying stanza, Johnson bettered his previous pass with a 6.512 effort, but it wasn’t enough to retake the pole from former teammate Vincent Nobile.

“We’ve had a very strong start and improved today with some very consistent runs in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge,” said Johnson, the 2012 Pro Stock champion and runner-up in the standings last season. “Jeggie’s [Coughlin] car is giving us a little bit of a problem, but we have a very good race day set up on my car and I’m really looking forward to the first elimination rounds of the new season.” Dodge Avenger pilot Jeg Coughlin Jr., the 2013 NHRA Pro Stock champion, qualified eighth and will square off with Rodger Brogdon in the opening round on Sunday. Competing with J&J Racing Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Roy Johnson, Coughlin posted best numbers of 6.531/211.96 over the four qualifying sessions.

V. Gaines (6.515/212.83) will start the season strong from the No. 4 spot and line up his Mopar against Greg Stanfield. Dodge Avenger racer Deric Kramer (6.566/211.20) locked in the 12th position on the grid and meets Erica Enders-Stevens in round one, while Matt Hartford (6.574/209.79) qualified in the 14th spot in his Mopar-powered Dodge, earning a first-round showdown with Jason Line.

Despite a spectacular explosion at the end of his second qualifying run on Friday which earned him national news coverage, Ron Capps used the 4.014/304.67 from that pass to claim the No .5 spot in his Dodge Charger R/T and match up against another Dodge driver, No. 12 qualifier Jeff Arend (4.097/308.00). Drama also surrounded Capps’ Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Jack Beckman, who cracked the field on his last qualifying chance with a clutch 4.049/312.86 in his Charger to start No. 8 and set up an opening-round date with another DSR teammate, No. 9 qualifier (4.069/316.82) Tommy Johnson Jr.

Flying the brand-new Mopar Express Lane colors on his DSR Dodge Charger R/T, Matt Hagan (4.077/316.01) starts his race day in the No. 10 spot against Courtney Force. Gary Densham (4.147/300.00) is No. 14 in his Dodge and will draw Alexis DeJoria, while No. 16 Dodge Charger R/T pilot Paul Lee (4.162/271.41) will face another Force — No. 1 qualifier John Force. All seven Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/Ts entered in the Pomona event made the show on Sunday, filling nearly half the Funny Car field.