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Oct 07, 2012 - 02:49 AM
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2012 NHRA: Mopar Driver Allen Johnson Starts Sixth At Reading
Posted by: newsla on Oct 07, 2012 - 02:32 AM
2012 NHRA: Mopar Driver Allen Johnson Starts Sixth At Reading; Jack Beckman Scores Funny Car Pole And Sets Elapsed Time Record

Team Mopar® driver Allen Johnson claimed the No. 6 position in Pro Stock qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 6, during the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. For the current points leader, he has now qualified sixth or better in all 21 races this season.


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Johnson, who earned six bonus points during the first three rounds of qualifying, leads Jason Line in the standings, heading into eliminations on Sunday, where he will face teammate and fellow Mopar-powered driver Vincent Nobile in the opening round. Three events remain this season in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, including this weekend.

“We were really good on Friday and okay today,” said Johnson. “On the last run today, we just made a little boo-boo and it cost us, because the air was so much better. We were experimenting a little bit today, and it will just make us have to go out and work a little bit harder tomorrow and really earn it. We know we have a good car in our Mopar Dodge Avenger and our HEMI engines are strong. Tomorrow is a new day and we’ll treat it that way.”

Johnson opened the weekend at Reading on Friday, Oct. 5, with a pass of 6.545-seconds at 211.39 mph, which at the time put him at the top of the leaderboard. In the second round of qualifying, the native of Greeneville, Tenn., turned in a run of 6.546/211.49 to earn the provisional No. 2 spot heading into today’s final two sessions. Johnson laid down a lap of 6.572/210.93 in the third of four qualifying rounds to remain second overall, and ran a 6.557/210.18 in the fourth session, which put him sixth overall.

“We have to go out and do our job in the first round tomorrow,” Johnson said. “Vincent is always a tough opponent and he has just as good of a car as us and we know he has plenty of horsepower under the hoods with the engines that dad (Roy Johnson) and his guys build. Every round out here is tough and tomorrow will be no different.”

Mopar-powered V. Gaines, who held the provisional pole following the second and third rounds of qualifying, ended up fourth on the ladder, with a best time of 6.544/211.00, and will face Warren Johnson, who qualified 13th, in the first round of Pro Stock eliminations on Sunday. Nobile recorded a best qualifying effort of 6.567/211.43 to earn the No. 11 spot and set up the Mopar vs. Mopar match-up with Johnson in the first round on Sunday. Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the Mopar/JEGS.com Avenger, will roll off seventh, following a best qualifying lap of 6.552/210.37, and will pair up with No. 10 qualifier Ron Krisher in the opening frame tomorrow.

Jack Beckman was the No. 1 qualifier in the Funny Car class in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), earning his second straight pole position and fourth of the season. Beckman grabbed the top spot in Funny Car with a pass of 3.989/320.58, in the second round on Friday, which set a new national elapsed time (ET) record, a new track ET record and a new career-best ET mark for the veteran driver. Beckman, who will take on Mike Smith in the opening round on Sunday, trails DSR teammate Ron Capps by less than 30 points as each chases their first Funny Car title.

Capps qualified eighth at Reading and will go up against Jeff Arend in the opening round, while his Mopar-powered DSR teammate Johnny Gray rolls off fourth and matches up with Bob Tasca III in the opening round. Matt Hagan begins eliminations from the 12th slot and will face Courtney Force in the opening frame on Sunday.

Eliminations at Maple Grove Raceway are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Eastern on Sunday. ESPN2 coverage of eliminations will air on Sunday night from 7 to 10 p.m. Eastern, and will be preceded with a one-hour airing of qualifying from 6 to 7 p.m. Eastern.

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