Running a full compliment of LAT Racing Lubricants, Team Mopar® NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson was victorious in an all-Mopar Dodge Avenger final round over Vincent Nobile on Sunday, April 1, in the 13th Annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. For Johnson, a native of Greeneville, Tenn., it was his 10th-career Pro Stock win and first of the 2012 season.
Johnson used a pass of 6.648-seconds at 207.30 mph with a reaction time of 0.033 to track down Nobile, who got off the line first in the final, with a reaction time of 0.008 coupled with a 6.738/207.53 number. Both drivers compete with Mopar HEMI® engines built by Roy Johnson, Allen’s father, out of the family’s J&J Racing shop. A season-high five drivers qualified for Pro Stock eliminations in Mopar-powered Dodge Avengers.
“Congratulations to Allen Johnson on winning today for Mopar in Las Vegas,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Allen has had one of the fastest cars so far this season, and having an all-Mopar final is a true testament to the power and performance of the Mopar HEMI engines that his team builds. Allen has been a valued member of Team Mopar for many years and we couldn’t be more proud of him. Congratulations as well to Vincent Nobile for reaching the final in his Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger.”
Johnson, who was the No. 3 qualifier in his Mopar Dodge Avenger, began his march to the final with an opening round victory over Shane Gray, using a pass of 6.637/207.15 and a reaction time of 0.032 to his opponent’s 6.689/205.19. The second-generation driver was victorious over four-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson in the quarterfinals, before facing off with Erica Enders in the semifinals. Johnson used a 6.659/206.89 run to advance to final over Ender’s who recorded a 6.735/206.01 pass.
“We took advantage of all that we have been given,” said Johnson. “We have a fast race car and great Mopar HEMI engines. I’ve said again and again, our team motto is ‘Be Consistent,’ and that is what we were today. I knew we had a race car that had a chance to go all the way today.
“It was a testament to our entire team. Mark Ingersoll (Johnson’s crew chief), Jim Yates (team engineer), dad, all the crew and the guys in the engine shop, we’re just focused on being consistent, and it’s paying dividends. We’ve gotten so much from the folks at Mopar, all the great parts and the moral support from those at Chrysler Group headquarters. It’s great feeling to give them a win.”
Jeg Coughlin Jr., who qualified in the No. 9 position in his Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger, was paired with Nobile in the opening frame. Coughlin ran a slightly faster 6.674/206.13, with Nobile using a nearly perfect reaction time of 0.002 to pick up the win with a 6.676/206.86 number. Nobile defeated Jason Line in the quarterfinals and Greg Stanfield in the semifinals to set up the all-Mopar final. Fellow Mopar-powered Pro Stock drivers V. Gaines and Chris McGaha both fell in the opening round.
Matt Hagan reached the quarterfinals in Funny Car in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR). The native of Christiansburg, Va. downed Mike Neff in the opening round, before falling to Bob Tasca III in the second round. Hagan’s DSR teammates Jack Beckman and Johnny Gray also bowed out in the quarterfinals, while Ron Capps, the fourth Mopar-powered DSR Funny Car driver, failed to qualify for the event.
Johnson is currently fourth in the Pro Stock point standings, with Nobile fifth and Coughlin 12th. In Funny Car, Beckman is currently third, with Gray fourth, Capps eighth and Hagan 11th. Next up for the Mopar-powered NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers is the Third Annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, scheduled for April 13–15 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.