Johnson Scores Win for New Car
Larry Jewett - March 17, 2014 10:50 AM
In the debut of the new Dodge Dart Pro Stock car, Allen Johnson drove to a HEMI-powered title win at the prestigious NHRA Gatornationals for his second win of the 2014 season and a consecutive title victory at the Gainesville national event.Courtesy of Chrysler Media
Allen Johnson had boldly predicted that the new Mopar Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car will ultimately rank among the greatest to compete in the class — and it looks like the Team Mopar veteran might have a bright future as a prognosticator. In the vehicle’s competition debut, Johnson wasted no time in igniting a winning legacy for the Dodge Dart, powering to a history-making event win at the 45th Annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.
Johnson also captured his second consecutive NHRA Gatornationals crown and his 22nd career win in 47 final-round appearances en route to become the first Pro Stocker to drive a Dodge Dart into Victory Lane. The win is also the Greeneville, Tenn., native’s second in a row this this season —Johnson raced his Dodge Avenger to a farewell victory at the recent NHRA Phoenix event before christening the Dodge Dart in triumphant style.
“Congratulations to Allen Johnson for taking the new Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Dart straight to the winner’s circle in its debut to earn the prestigious Gatornationals title,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “What a fantastic way to demonstrate the quality of Mopar products and team work. To defend his title, earn consecutive wins and take the early lead in the championship points makes us very excited about the future of the Dodge Dart and Allen’s bid for another NHRA Championship amid some strong competition.”
Johnson qualified No. 4 and recorded his fastest career run with a speed of 214.04 mph. He navigated a nail-biting route to the semifinals, tracking down rookie Jonathan Gray in the first session of eliminations. In the money round, Johnson demonstrated that the driver is just as important as the car, leaving first with a quicker .017-second reaction time to score a holeshot win over Erica Ender-Stevens.
“What a great job the Mopar engineers, everybody at Chrysler Group, Dodge and SRT did,” said Johnson, the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock champ and 2013 series runner-up. “I just can’t say enough. For the last two weeks since the Phoenix win, it’s been nonstop. My guys haven’t had a day off. It says a tremendous amount about our crew, and the engineering efforts behind it (the Dart).
“Everything to do with the design of the Dart, the engineers took our input and really came up with a great car. To be able to do that (win in its first race) is a huge accomplishment.”
Next up for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Team Mopar competitors is the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., scheduled for March 28–30.