Mopar Express Lane Driver Johnson Rockets to Top Spot in Friday Qualifying at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Defending event winner and reigning Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson will seek to secure his fourth consecutive pole at Bandimere Speedway and fifth overall at the venue
Four-time Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals winner Johnson looks to add to his streak of six straight final-round appearances on Thunder Mountain in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger
Hometown favorite and Lakewood, Colo. native V. Gaines holds the Pro Stock provisional No. 2 spot in his Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger
With the provisional second spot, defending event winner and reigning Funny Car champion Jack Beckman leads the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T contingent in Funny Car qualifying
Morrison, Colo. (Friday, July 19, 2013) – The reigning king of Thunder Mountain took a giant step — in the form of the provisional No. 1 spot — towards continuing his rule at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson recorded a 6.949–elapsed time at 198.23 mph in the second qualifying session today at Bandimere Speedway to claim the top spot on the charts. If Johnson, the reigning Pro Stock series champion, can hold his position tomorrow, the Greeneville, Tenn. native will earn his fourth straight pole at sponsor Mopar’s headline event, and fifth overall at the Rocky Mountain venue.
Also on the line for Johnson this weekend, which marks the 25th anniversary of Mopar’s role as title sponsor of the event: his streak of six straight final-round appearances in Denver and a possible fifth career win at Bandimere Speedway.
“We’re right on with our program, now we just have to tune the other two up (the cars of teammates Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Vincent Nobile),” said Johnson, who was second after the first qualifying session with a 6.980/197.39. “After that first run I wasn’t sure we were going to have the Mopar execs smiling tonight, but we ended up giving them something to cheer about. That’s what we’re out here for, that’s what they pay us to do. And it’s always fulfilling for the J&J Racing team when we do it.
“We tuned up the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Avenger. You know, it’s Mopar’s 25th anniversary (as title sponsor) and all the bosses are upstairs, except Pietro (Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar), who’s in Italy, and he’s wishing us on from afar. We need to make them smile on Friday night, and hopefully we made them do it. We’re very happy with the way things are going, and hopefully we can keep the Mopar out front tomorrow.”
A pair of hometown-favorite Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger drivers trailed closely behind Johnson in Friday Pro Stock qualifying. Lakewood, Colo., native V. Gaines (6.970) was just behind Johnson with the provisional No. 2 spot, while Deric Kramer (6.982), from Sterling, Colo., was fifth. Johnson’s J&J Racing teammates were also in the mix, with Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Coughlin (6.997) listed ninth and Mountain View Dodge Avenger racer Nobile (7.005) penciled in at 11th. Matt Hartford posted his Dodge Avenger 12th.
Defending Funny Car event champ Jack Beckman posted his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T second in Friday qualifying with a 4.097-second pass at a track-record 309.91 mph. Fellow Mopar-fueled Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate Ron Capps (4.152) was ranked eighth, with Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar DSR Dodge pilot Matt Hagan (4.158) listed ninth. Johnny Gray (4.168) clocked in at No. 10 in his DSR Dodge, and Jeff Arend was 14th in his Dodge Charger R/T.