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Old 09-15-2012, 08:03 AM
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Smile NHRA Six Race Playoff

Countdown Officially Underway As Team Mopar Takes on Friday Qualifying at Charlotte Nationals

Vincent Nobile leads Mopar Pro Stockers with his first No. 1 Qualifier honor

Allen Johnson puts his Mopar Dodge fourth after first two Pro Stock qualifying runs

Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Coughlin Jr. ends Friday in 12th position

Jack Beckman paces the Funny Car Mopar entries in his Dodge Charger with second place qualifying effort

Mopar’s Matt Hagan sixth in Funny Car qualifying

September 14, 2012 , Concord, N.C. - Friday Qualifying at zMax Dragway officially launched the start of the NHRA six race playoff known as the ‘Countdown to the Championship’ and it was the Mopar Dodge Avenger of Vincent Nobile that led the Pro Stock field for the first time. Mopar Dodge Avenger driver and current points leader Allen Johnson wasn’t quite as excited about his start to first playoff weekend, taking the provisional fourth spot after two qualifying runs at the Charlotte strip.

Nobile’s initial pass put him second on the scoring sheet with an elapsed time of 6.573 seconds and speed of 210.44 mph. His second run in the no.5 Dodger Avenger against Jason Line lowered the ET to 6.548 / 211.03 and gave him his first career provisional pole position.

“We’re always striving to be number one but it’s definitely a surprise and I’m definitely new to this,” said Nobile who is running with HEMI power supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing team and is currently fifth in the Pro Stock playoff race. “It felt great in the car and I was shocked how fast we went. I knew it was a great run but I’ve never been a No.1 Qualifier.”

“When you’re fast, you’re the car to beat and today we were the car to beat,” added Nobile. “It’s a big confidence booster when you have a fast car.”

Johnson, who is looking to maintain his first place position in the Countdown by gathering valuable qualifying points, was disappointed with his two qualifying runs. The driver of the No.4 Mopar Dodge Avenger recorded a pass of 6.574-seconds at 211.56 mph to earn the third spot, and then posted a 6.563 /211.23 on his second run to finish the day as fourth fastest qualifier.

“We’re not where we want to be but we know what the problem is and these guys will fix it for the final rounds of qualifying so we can grab a few points on Saturday,” said Johnson who knows picking up as many qualifying points as possible is key but has his sights set on earning a fifth win this season and a championship. “We’re not aiming for fourth that’s for sure. We’ll work harder, focus on every single run and try not to get ahead of ourselves.

“Points are important but we still have six races and while we want to get the points every single run, today we weren’t very good at that,” acknowledged Johnson. “We’ll go out and be a little more aggressive Saturday as we work on our race day set-up.”

Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr., who sits 10th in the playoff standings was 8th after posting a 6.616/209.65 pass on his second qualifying run. V. Gaines sits in 14th place in his Mopar-powered Dodge with best effort of 6.611/209.46.

In the NHRA’s Funny Car class, after setting an E.T of 4.084 / 309.56 mph, HEMI-powered Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Jack Beckman had the provisional pole snatched from him by Tim Wilkerson by a 4.048 (309.70) effort.

DSR teammate and Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan sits in sixth place after his efforts Friday with a best run of 4.123/301.54, while current Funny Car points leader and Mopar DSR pilot Ron Capps ended the day in 12th.

Two more qualifying sessions for the Pro classes are on the docket for Saturday beginning at noon ET while the first eliminations rounds in the “Countdown to the Championship” are slated for Sunday broadcast on ESPN2.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:40 PM
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Mopar Driver Nobile Earns First Career Pole Position at Charlotte Nationals

Vincent Nobile earns his first career Pro Stock pole position

No. 4 qualifier Johnson to face Jeg Coughlin Jr. for a Mopar showdown in first round eliminations at Charlotte

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan will try to play spoiler in eliminations as he goes for wins after missing playoffs

Charlotte Nationals the first of six playoff races in NHRA “Countdown to the Championship”


September 15, 2012 , Concord, N.C. - After garnering his first no.1 Qualifier status on Friday, Mopar driver Vincent Nobile followed that up with another strong performance by putting his Dodge Avenger on the pole in Pro Stock qualifying on Saturday at zMax Dragway for the 5th Annual NHRA Nationals in Charlotte. Current points leader Allen Johnson qualified fourth for a Mopar versus Mopar round one eliminations matchup against 13th qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the first of the six-race playoff series “Countdown to the Championship”.

With the 16-car field now set for Sunday’s eliminations, HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger driver Vincent Nobile is enjoying his new found success and official standing as the pole winner.

“My team and I are ecstatic for our first No.1 Qualifier,” said Nobile who set the lowest elapsed time on his second run in Friday qualifying (6.548 sec ET / 211.03 mph) but went quickest in the first Saturday session and second quickest in the final qualifying run. “After yesterday, I knew we could perform just as well and it did, but I actually goofed up a little bit with the burnout (on the last run) or we might have been first in that session as well.”

“Being No.1 Qualifier mean you’re the fastest car out there and I’ve never had that before,” added Nobile who will face Lewis Worden in first round eliminations and hopes to improve on his fifth position in the Pro Stock playoff standings. “As a driver it’s a huge confidence boost and takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders because you know you have the car to beat and that can win the round.”

Meanwhile, Allen Johnson qualified his Mopar Dodge Avenger fourth with a low ET of 6.563 seconds / 211.23 in his second Friday run but was much happier with his passes in the final two sessions.

“We’re happier being closer to the top cars today running second quickest in the first session and third on the last run,” said Johnson who is working towards notching a fifth win this season and looking to keep his lead in the playoffs. “We still have not got a handle on his racetrack though because it’s so bald it with no rubber on the track that it’s hard to get a hold of it. Only a couple of cars have (a handle on it) including Vincent (Nobile).”

Watching Vincent (Nobile) do well helps our whole program as our cars and set-ups are nearly identical,” added Johnson who J&J team supplies Nobile with HEMI power. “But no two cars are alike that’s why his car is performing a little better here but it gives us something to feed off of so that both of us can go out there tomorrow and do well.”
The no.1 seed in the Countdown Johnson will face fellow Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. who is tenth in the playoff points, in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

“You never really want to face another Mopar in the first round but we’ve done that a lot with Jeg this year and he’s always tough,” added Johnson who has matched up against Coughlin on four occasions this year without a loss. “You have to be on your game. We’d rather have all four Mopars in the quarterfinals but that’s not going to happen this week.”
The fourth Mopar driver in eliminations and the championship hunt is ninth place qualifier V. Gaines (6.592/210.64) who will do battle against eighth quickest qualifier, Dave Connolly.

In NHRA Funny Car, No. 2 Qualifier and Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman (4.082/306.53) will meet Alexis DeJoria in the first round of eliminations. Sporting special Mopar 75th Anniversary graphics on his Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, DSR driver Matt Hagan (4.123/301.54) qualified 8th and will be looking to play spoiler as he hopes to notch a win since not being able compete for a Funny Car championship after missing a playoff spot with an 11th place spot in the points standings.

Final eliminations begin with driver introductions at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Mopar fans can catch all the action on Sunday, Sept. 16, on ESPN2 with qualifying highlights being broadcast from 2-3 p.m. ET and elimination coverage from 8:30-11:30 p.m. ET. Follow @OfficialMopar for live updates and spoilers through the day.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:34 AM
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Team Mopar Earns Funny Car Title at Charlotte, Maintains Playoff Lead in Pro Stock And Funny Car


8 Total Mopar-powered Dodge entries in Pro Stock and Funny Car eliminations at Charlotte

Mopar- powered Dodge Charger RT DSR driver Capps wins FC title and extends Countdown points lead

Johnson still leads Countdown Pro Stock playoffs by 3 points after final round loss to Jason Line.

After 1st career Pro Stock pole, Nobile loses Mopar showdown in semis against Johnson

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Matt Hagan falls to DSR teammate Ron Capps in semi-finals

September 16, 2012 , Concord, N.C. - All eight Mopar-powered Dodge entries in both Pro Stock and Funny Car made the elimination rounds of the 5th Annual NHRA Nationals at Charlotte, and one drove its way to Victory Circle under the lights after a rain delayed start to racing. Don Schumacher Racing’s Ron Capps beat teammate and fellow Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan in the Funny Car semi-finals to face Mike Neff. Capps took the first title win of the playoff race (4.067 seconds /315.49 mph) over Neff, who smoked the tires to extend his lead, 2230 points over Neff’s (2157) second place standing in the Countdown.

Allen Johnson who also started the Pro Stock playoffs with a 30 point advantage, made his way into the finals at the zMax Dragway with his championship lead intact after a Mopar Dodge Avenger showdown against pole winner Vincent Nobile in the semis. For his seventh final round appearance this season, Johnson faced off against Jason Line in what turned into a pedalfest as both drivers shook their tires. Line recovered quickly enough to beat Johnson with a 7.51 elapsed time.

“Neither one of us had moved three feet before we both lost traction and he (Line) just got it back into gear a bit quicker than I did,” said Johnson who heads to the second playoff event next weekend in Texas with 2230 points, just three (3) points ahead of Line (2206) in the standings. “We had a great day and we’re still happy with it. We have a good car and we’re still in the points lead. We’ll take that.”

Jeg Coughlin Jr. dropped early in the first round Mopar showdown against Johnson, who got off the starting line quicker and ran a 6.594-second pass at 210.73 mph to Coughlin's 6.644 at 208.42 mph.

After garnering his first career pole position, Vincent Nobile took his HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger through the first two rounds eventually falling short in another tough Mopar match up with teammate Johnson in the semis. Johnson won that battle wire to wire with a 0.27 to 0.050 reaction time, and a 6.567 (211.00 mph) second ET to Nobile’s 6.588 (209.46 mph).

The fourth Mopar driver in Pro Stock eliminations and the championship hunt, V. Gaines fell short in his first round pairing with Dave Connolly.

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan (4.123 ET/301.54 mph) qualified eighth and dispatched Bob Tasca and top Funny Car qualifier Tim Wilkerson to advance to the semi-finals to face off against his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps. Hagan emerges unscathed after a fire ended his run giving Capps the win (4.047 sec /317 mph) and sending him to the final in which he earned the victory against Mike Neff. Capps earned his fourth Funny Car title win (4.067/315) for DSR this season in his Mopar- powered Dodge Charger over Neff to retain his lead in the hunt for a championship.

The six-race Countdown to the Championship continues September 20-23 with the27th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the all concrete dragstrip at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX. Follow @OfficialMopar for live updates and spoilers.

PRO STOCK Championship Standings
1. ALLEN JOHNSON - Mopar Dodge Avenger -2209
2. Jason Line 2206
3. VINCENT NOBILE - Mopar Dodge Avenger - 2138
4. Greg Anderson 2107
5. Mike Edwards 2094
6. Erica Enders 2094
7. Ron Krisher 2063
8. Larry Morgan 2062
9. V.GAINES -Mopar Dodge Avenger - 2052
10. JEG COUGHLIN JR - Mopar Dodge Avenger- 2031


FUNNY CAR Championship Standings
1. RON CAPPS -Mopar Dodge Charger -2230
2. Mike Neff 2157
3. JACK BECKMAN -Mopar Dodge Charger - 2152
4. Robert Hight 2113
5. Cruz Pedregon 2087
6. JOHNNY GRAY - Mopar Dodge Charger - 2081
7. Courtney Force 2074
8. John Force 2072
9. Jeff Arend 2064
10. Tim Wilkerson 2064
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:29 PM
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Team Mopar Tops Pro Stock Friday Qualifying at Texas Fall National

Allen Johnson tops both Pro Stock qualifying sessions with low ET 6.568 seconds

Hemi-powered Dodge Avenger drivers Vincent Nobile 5th and V.Gaines 7th

Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Coughlin Jr. ends Friday in 10th spot

Jack Beckman paces the Funny Car Mopar entries with 3rd place qualifying effort

Mopar’s Matt Hagan 6th in Funny Car Qualifying

Three DSR Dodge Charger R/T entries in Traxxas Nitro Shootout


September 21, 2012 , Ennis, Texas - Leader in the ‘Countdown to the Championship’, Allen Johnson, added a few more valuable points and a bit more momentum to his drive for a title and Pro Stock crown by setting the lowest elapsed time with his Mopar Dodge Avenger in Friday qualifying at the NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex south of Dallas.

Fastest in both sessions, Johnson’s initial pass of 6.585 seconds / 211.26 mph was against Jason Line (6.632), who is nipping at his heels in the playoff points race in second spot just three points back. The 17 year veteran driver improved upon his time with an E.T. of 6.568 seconds against Erica Enders (6.586) to maintain his provisional pole position at the end of the day.

“Our game plan with the Mopar Dodge Avenger is consistency and we’ve done that here so far after two runs,” said Johnson who went to the finals last weekend at Nationals in Charlotte and is working towards securing a tenth No.1 Qualifier position so far this season. “Building up those little points in qualifying is what we're shooting for, and we did that today.”

“This is a great track with a great, flat surface and a lot of traction. I can't say enough about my crew. Everything is perfect right now. We're running on eight-and-a-half cylinders. The car is consistent, and we're looking for more of the same on Saturday.”

Fellow J&J Racing driver Vincent Nobile was fifth overall with a low ET 6.592 / 210.14 while V. Gaines sits in seventh in his Mopar-powered Dodge with best effort of 6.600/210.11.

Mopar/JEGS.com driver Jeg Coughlin Jr., posted a 6.618 / 209.10 best pass to put him in 10th spot on his second qualifying run.

Don Schumacher Racing’s Jack Beckman leads the Mopar Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car contingent by holding the No. 3 position with a time of 4.109 seconds at 303.98 mph. Beckman, along with his two other DSR teammates Ron Capps and Johnny Gray, will be part of Saturday’s Traxxas Nitro Shootout, eight-car All-Star race in which the winner will earn $100,000 for his team.

Capps, the Funny Car points leader in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, is the top seed in the Shootout and will race rookie Courtney Force in the opening round, while Beckman meets John Force.

The first two rounds of the ‘race within a race’ will coincide with the final two qualifying sessions, with the two Shootout finalists meeting for the title.

DSR teammate and Mopar driver Matt Hagan sits in sixth place after his efforts with a best qualifying run of 4.151 / 296.63.

Two more qualifying sessions for the Pro classes are on tap for Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. CT (noon E.T.) with highlights being shown on ESPN2 Saturday night at midnight and again Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The second set (of six playoff races) of Eliminations rounds in the “Countdown to the Championship” are slated for broadcast on Sunday, Sept 23, 8:30 pm ET on ESPN2.


About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950’s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer, Don Garlits. Combined efforts between Garlits and the Mopar brand resulted in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in a HEMI-powered car over the next several decades. Mopar has remained a fixture on the racing scene in the North America ever since and is currently involved with the NHRA, NASCAR, USAC and TORC series. Mopar also sponsors many motorsports events, including title sponsorship of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado for nearly 25 consecutive years; and it is a proud supporter of amateur racing within NHRA and USAC.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:38 PM
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Mopar Dominates Pro Stock Qualifying and Earns Pole Position at NHRA Texas Fall Nationals

Allen Johnson tops every qualifying session and earns his 10th No.1 Qualifier honor this season in Pro Stock

Hemi-powered Dodge Avenger drivers Vincent Nobile 4th and V. Gaines 7th

Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualifies in 10th spot

Jack Beckman paces the Funny Car Mopar entries with 3rd place qualifying effort

Mopar’s Matt Hagan 7th in Funny Car Qualifying

Mopar powered Dodge Charger R/T driver Ron Capps loses to John Force in Traxxas Shootout

September 22, 2012 , Ennis, Texas - After dominating every qualifying session, Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson earned the Pro Stock pole position with the lowest quarter-mile elapsed time of 6.550 seconds and set the top speed at 211.99 mph at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the famed Texas Motorplex near Dallas. It is Johnson’s tenth No. 1 Qualifier honor this season and the 28th of his career.

“I can remember my first one like it was yesterday and remember wondering if I’d get another one after that,” Johnson reminisced jokingly as a 17 year NHRA veteran. “It’s been a great year for the Mopar Dodge Avenger qualifying no. 1 and earning four wins this year, and hopefully I’ll add a couple more here readily.”

“We’re hitting on all cylinders and we have a very consistent strategy right now,” added Johnson who is maintaining his status as current points leader heading into the second of six playoff races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. “I’m trying to make good clean safe runs on every run, without pushing it at all and we’re still right up front. Hopefully we can take that strategy and work the Eliminations on Sunday. If we need a little more we’ve got a little more and can push the envelope a little bit and that’s a really good feeling right now.”

Johnson will face Warren Johnson for a first round elimination match up.

Fellow HEMI-powered entries of Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines qualified fourth and seventh respectively, while Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. qualified in 10th spot.

Nobile matches up with Larry Morgan in the first round, while Gaines and Coughlin will face each other in a good old fashioned Texas shootout with their Mopars.

In Funny Car, Don Schumacher Racing’s Jack Beckman led the Mopar Dodge Charger R/T contingent with a third place qualifying run and a best time of 4.109 seconds / 303.98 mph.

Beckman, along with his two other DSR teammates Ron Capps and Johnny Gray, also took part in the ‘race within a race’ inaugural Traxxas Nitro Shootout, where eight cars battled for $100,000 in an All-Star battle. Beckman lost in the first round while his DSR teammates faced each other in the semi-final match up that saw Capps eliminate Gray.

Capps went on to battle fellow veteran driver John Force in the finals, losing by just two-hundredths of a second.
The fourth DSR Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan sits in seventh place after his qualifying efforts with a best run of 4.151 sec. / 296.63 mph.

Qualifying highlights will be shown on ESPN2 Saturday night at midnight ET and again Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Eliminations rounds at Texas Fall Nationals and race two of the six playoff series for “Countdown to the Championship” are slated for broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 8:30 pm ET on ESPN2.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:58 AM
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Team Mopar & Johnson Earn 5th Season Title Win at NHRA Texas Fall Nationals

Allen Johnson earns 5th title win of 2012 Pro Stock season
Johnson extends lead in Pro Stock Countdown to 93 points.
HEMI-powered Vincent Nobile 3rd in Pro Stock playoff points
Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Mat Hagan drives to Funny Car final round


September 23, 2012

Ennis, Texas - After topping every qualifying session and earning the No.1 Qualifier honor, Allen Johnson made it a clean sweep by driving his Mopar Dodge Avenger to a title win at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex.

“The Mopar Dodge Avenger was consistent and it was low in all four qualifying rounds, low in two of four rounds today, and got the job done,” said Johnson who collected his tenth pole position and fifth title win of the season along the way. “We’ve got a great crew that makes great decisions. We’ve got great power from Dad (Roy Johnson) and the guys at the engine shop with great support from Mopar. The driver, fortunately, did his job.”

“Congratulations from everyone at Mopar to Allen Johnson on his win at the Fall Nationals in Texas,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “We are extremely proud of Allen and the team for earning and maintaining their place atop the NHRA playoffs standings amid such strong competition, including three other HEMI-powered Dodge Avenger entries.”

This weekend’s performance was a big boost for Johnson who entered the event just three playoff points ahead of defending Pro Stock champ Jason Line in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, and after collecting maximum qualifying bonuses and the title win, now extends his lead to 93 points.

“I looked at the elimination ladder last night and thought, ‘Oh, my, I’m going to have to work for this one’,” added Johnson. “We just took it one round at a time without getting ahead of ourselves. Somebody who’s won several championships called me before this thing ever started and told me, ‘Just enjoy it, and have fun.’ That advice was very important. I'm up for this challenge, and I'm enjoying it.”

Johnson followed up his runner-up finish last week in Charlotte with his first win in the playoffs against Erica Enders in the final round of elimination with an elapsed time of 6.598 seconds at 210.93 mph to Enders’ 6.835 / 209.39 after slowing at the start.

Another HEMI-powered entry earning good points in playoffs with his strong performance this weekend was Vincent Nobile who maintained his third spot in the standings, 122 behind Johnson. Following an incredibly close 0.004 second quarter-final win against Greg Anderson, Nobile found himself in a good old fashioned Texas-style Mopar versus Mopar showdown against Johnson for the second race in a row.

Their semi-final bout was unbelievably tight from start to finish, beginning with Johnson’s reaction time of 0.010 of a second to Nobile’s 0.011, and a finish that saw win lights in Johnson’s favor after an ET of 6.559 / 210.90 to Nobile’s 6.613 /210.21 mph.

Don Schumacher Racing’s Matt Hagan came close to giving Mopar a second title at Texas by advancing to the final elimination round in his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car against Bob Tasca, but fell short after they both lost traction early with Tasca reaching the finish line ahead in 4.826 / 197.59 to Hagan's 5.025 /188.15.

The third round of the six-race “Countdown to the Championship” continues September 28-30 with the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, in the shadow of the famed St. Louis Arch in Missouri. Mopar fans can watch qualifying highlights and eliminations on ESPN2.

PRO STOCK Championship Standings

ALLEN JOHNSON - Mopar Dodge Avenger -2339
Jason Line 2246
VINCENT NOBILE - Mopar Dodge Avenger - 2217
Greg Anderson 2195
Mike Edwards 2161
Erica Enders 2127
Ron Krisher 2097
Larry Morgan 2093
V. GAINES -Mopar Dodge Avenger - 2085
JEG COUGHLIN JR - Mopar Dodge Avenger- 2083



FUNNY CAR Championship Standings

RON CAPPS -Mopar Dodge Charger -2307
Mike Neff 2211
JACK BECKMAN -Mopar Dodge Charger - 2210
Cruz Pedregon 2167
Robert Hight 2144
Courtney Force 2140
Tim Wilkerson 2123
JOHNNY GRAY - Mopar Dodge Charger - 2113
John Force 2104
Jeff Arend 2095
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:35 AM
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Allen Johnson gains crucial points in Friday qualifying at St. Louis

Madison, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2012) – Mopar Dodge Avenger NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series driver Allen Johnson, the current leader in the NHRA Pro Stock “Countdown to the Championship” playoffs, continues to rack up points in his fight for the title.

The Team Mopar veteran gained four valuable points and earned the No. 2 provisional spot following the first two rounds of qualifying for the AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals on Friday, Sept. 28, at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis.



Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson earns provisional No. 2 spot with a run of 6.516-seconds
Johnson, the current leader, picks up four valuable points in the fight for the Pro Stock ‘Countdown to the Championship’
Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car pilot Jack Beckman seizes provisional pole

Johnson was second quickest in the first session with an elapsed time (ET) of 6.534-seconds at 212.46 mph, earning two bonus points as he seeks to maintain his lead in the Pro Stock standings and earn the first overall Pro Stock championship of his 17-year career.

In the evening qualifying session, the Greeneville, Tenn., native also came in at No. 2 with a 6.516/212.76 effort, picking up an additional two markers. Johnson has a class-best 10 No. 1 spots on the season and will seek to move up tomorrow and claim his 11th pole of the 2012 campaign.


“We had a productive day, and gained some points in the title fight,” said Johnson, winner of the most recent NHRA event in Dallas, and a five-time event champ in 2012 thus far. “We left quite a bit on the table both runs, though.

But we’re taking it run by run, and not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ll go out there tomorrow and try to go even better.

“Tomorrow morning will probably be the best run of the weekend, or at least equal to the second session today. I’d say we’ll have an opportunity to move up if we can make a good run.”

The AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals marks the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ return to the St. Louis area after a one year hiatus. Johnson, for one, is amped up to return to racing in the shadow of the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch.

“There’s been an awesome bunch of Mopar fans, both at the NHRA Fan Fest on Thursday in downtown St. Louis, and also here today at Gateway Motorsports Park,” said Johnson. “This track has always been a good venue for Mopar fans. It’s great to see racing return here.”

When not behind the wheel or signing autographs in the pits, Johnson, an avid golfer who owns his own course back in Greeneville, has been holed up in his motorhome cheering on the U.S. squad in their battle against Europe in the Ryder Cup.

“We’re looking forward to watching some more Ryder Cup golf,” said Johnson. “We’re going to put some decals on my car tomorrow, and keep up with the score, and put it on the back window of the Mopar Dodge Avenger to show our support. It should be exciting.”

Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger racer Vincent Nobile, who competes with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing squad, was third-quickest of the opening session with a 6.534/211.49 performance (Johnson took the No. 2 spot thanks to his better mph mark), banking one bonus point. In his final run, Nobile recorded a 6.530/212.33 effort to take the provisional No. 5 position.

V. Gaines and Jeg Coughlin Jr., two Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger drivers also battling in the Pro Stock “Countdown to the Championship,” were ranked ninth and 14th, respectively, after Friday qualifying.

Gaines clocked a 6.548/210.47 in his Dodge, while four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Coughlin lit the timing lights with a best run of 6.569/210.54 in his Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger. Chris McGaha was listed No. 11 in his Dodge with a run of 6.553/210.31.

In the NHRA Funny Car class, Jack Beckman led the four-driver strong Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger R/T gang with a 4.049/308.85 pass to claim the provisional pole.

Mopar Dodge Charger R/T driver Matt Hagan ended Friday third with a 4.061/305.42 run, current Funny Car points leader Ron Capps was No. 6 with a 4.083/309.34 mark in his Dodge, and Johnny Gray rounded out the DSR Mopar Dodge squad at 11th with a 4.131/304.60.

Two final qualifying sessions are scheduled for Saturday, starting at 11:30 a.m. CT. Qualifying highlights are scheduled to air on ESPN2 on Sunday from 2:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. (ET), and again on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. (ET).

Source: Mopar Motorsports
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:33 AM
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Mopar®-powered Gaines Wins in Pro Stock at Reading; Gray Reaches Funny Car Final

Mopar Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson advances to quarterfinals to maintain Pro Stock points lead
Team Mopar drivers V. Gaines and Jeg Coughlin Jr. score big round wins to aid Johnson in title fight
Gaines earns fourth career Pro Stock victory
Johnny Gray takes his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to fourth final round of 2012
Dodge Charger R/T driver Jack Beckman reaches semifinals to vault into Funny Car points lead


October 8, 2012 , Reading, Pa - V. Gaines was victorious in a Mopar®-powered Dodge Avenger in Pro Stock on Monday, Oct. 8, in the rain-delayed conclusion of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. For Gaines, it marked his first win of the season and fourth of his career.

“All of us at Mopar would like to offer congratulations to V. Gaines on his big win at the NHRA Reading event,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “V. has been campaigning with Mopar power for many years and is a loyal and longstanding advocate for our brand. Mopar-powered Pro Stock cars have earned eight wins this year, and we look forward to V. and his fellow Mopar-powered drivers contending for more wins in the final two races of the season, as well as Allen Johnson continuing his battling for the championship.”

Gaines used a lap of 6.515-seconds at 212.26 mph in the final round to pick up the win over Dave Connolly, who fouled out on a red-light. On his way to the final Gaines downed Warren Johnson, Greg Anderson and Jason Line. The victory over Line, who is currently second in points, also greatly benefitted Pro Stock points leader Allen Johnson in his chase for a first Pro Stock title. Gaines opened the event as the No. 4 qualifier, and also recorded a career-best elapsed time of 6.489-seconds in the quarterfinals on Monday en route to the victory. Prior to his win at Reading, the last Pro Stock triumph for Gaines came at Phoenix in 2008, where he was victorious over Line.

“We finally showed this weekend that we can compete in the cold weather conditions,” said Gaines. “I wish I could say it was all because of the driver, but our car is so fantastic right now. We wanted to hang on to the No. 1 qualifying spot, but we still won the race. We’ll get the No. 1 spot sooner or later.”

Johnson, the current Pro Stock points leader, drove his Mopar Dodge Avenger to the quarterfinals at Reading, where he fell to Dave Connolly on a red-light foul. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., was the No. 6 qualifier and was paired up with teammate Vincent Nobile in the opening round, which was run on Sunday, Oct. 7. Johnson used a pass of 6.526/212.43 with a reaction time of 0.018 to win the Mopar vs. Mopar match-up with Nobile, who countered with a 6.547/211.36 and a blistering reaction time of 0.007.

The opening-round victory at Reading marked the 300th round win of Johnson’s career, which has spanned 17 years in a Mopar-powered Pro Stock car. With two races remaining in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Johnson holds an 82-point lead over Line.

“To still have a four or five round lead in points after the weekend is great for us,” said Johnson. “Las Vegas is up next and is always a really good track for me. We won there in the spring and have great notes for that track. I feel like we are in a pretty good position with two races remaining.”

Johnny Gray began his march to the Funny Car final round in his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T by dispatching of Bob Tasca III in the opening round. In the quarterfinals, the native of Artesia, N.M., was victorious over his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan, who earned a spot in the quarters after an opening round triumph over Courtney Force. The semifinals found another Mopar vs. Mopar pairing, with Gray using a starting line advantage coupled with a pass of 4.026/319.45 to pick up the win over Jack Beckman, who turned in a pass of 4.025/318.02.

By virtue of reaching the semifinals at Reading, along with receiving 20-bonus points earlier in the event for setting a new national elapsed time record, Beckman moved into the Funny Car points lead by 23 markers over fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T teammate Ron Capps, who he defeated in the quarterfinals.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger, advanced to the Pro Stock semifinals on Monday in one of his best showings of the season, falling to Dave Connolly on a holeshot. Coughlin put up a 6.526/211.99 number with a reaction time of 0.023 to his opponent’s 6.535/212.19 mark with a near-perfect 0.004 reaction time.

ESPN2 will air one hour of eliminations coverage from Maple Grove Raceway Monday, Oct. 6th at 10 p.m. ET. Next up for Mopar-powered NHRA competitors is a trip to Las Vegas for the 12th Annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, Oct. 25–28, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950’s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer, Don Garlits. Combined efforts between Garlits and the Mopar brand resulted in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in a HEMI-powered car over the next several decades. Mopar has remained a fixture on the racing scene in the North America ever since and is currently involved with the NHRA, NASCAR, USAC and TORC series. Mopar also sponsors many motorsports events, including title sponsorship of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado for nearly 25 consecutive years; and it is a proud supporter of amateur racing within NHRA and USAC.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:57 AM
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Mopar Drivers Set Sights on Championships
by Pete Misiak
October 17, 2012

Next up for Mopar-powered NHRA competitors is a trip to Las Vegas for the 12th Annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Mopar’s Allen Johnson is locked in a race for the NHRA Full Throttle season championship in Pro Stock. Johnson is the points leader and has scored a career-best five wins this season and four runner-up finishes. With only two races left, Johnson says it’s important for him to keep his focus on the finish line.



“Oh, you know, everything we can do hot right now is good,” Johnson explains. “You know, we've been to three finals in the Countdown, and that was our plan, and that's huge. Didn't do so well at Reading. But getting on the hot streaks, anytime you can do it in Pro Stock is a good thing.”

The last two races of the season are in Las Vegas Oct. 28 and Pomona, Calif. Nov. 11, tracks that Johnson and the rest of the Pro Stock field raced on earlier in the year.

“Of course, you know, we're sort of loving going back to Vegas. Had some good fortune there in the spring and won the race.

“Actually, I think all of us are going up there to test next week if I'm not mistaken, so I look forward to that, also.

“Pomona has been a decent track for us. Probably not as good as it has been for the Summit cars, but hopefully, again, we can take that and turn it around and have good fortune there, too. But I like both venues.”

In Funny Car action, Mopar drivers Ron Capps, Jack Beckman and Johnny Gray are still in the hunt for the championship with two race weekends left in the season, while their teammate Matt Hagan is looking to play spoiler by stealing some wins and points from their competitors.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:09 AM
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'Going Rounds' the Goal for Team Mopar Driver Johnson as NHRA Pro Stock Title Fight Hits Vegas

Allen Johnson in position to claim back-to-back wins in Vegas in his Mopar Dodge Avenger
Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps continue championship battle in Las Vegas
Jeg Coughlin, Jr. primed to continue success at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Mopar-powered Matt Hagan closing in on first Funny Car win of 2012


October 23, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. -

All season long, Team Mopar NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson has had a pretty simple approach — be consistent, go rounds and let the points fall where they may. That mantra will remain intact heading into the final two rounds of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Johnson, the current points leader, continues his bid for his first Pro Stock title as he returns to the track this week in the 12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 25–Oct 28.

“Las Vegas is a track I’ve always enjoyed racing at and I’m really looking forward to this week’s event,” said Johnson. “We’ve always had a pretty good setup and notes for Vegas and have run well there over the years. Having won there earlier this year definitely boosts our confidence going back for the second time.”

Johnson has claimed a career-high five NHRA event wins this season, and scored his first victory of the 2012 campaign in his Mopar Dodge Avenger at Las Vegas in April. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., won in a Mopar vs. Mopar matchup in the final against teammate Vincent Nobile, who uses HEMI® engines supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing shop. Johnson has reached the final-round at Las Vegas in two of his last three starts at the venue and has advanced to at least the semifinals five times.

“We tested at Las Vegas last weekend, which I think helped quite a bit,” said Johnson. “That’s a track that we have tested at a lot at over the years. I would say behind Denver, we have tested the second-most at Vegas. Usually all of that prep work helps you be more prepared, and most times pays off.”

The Team Mopar veteran has been near the top of the Pro Stock class in qualifying all season, leading the way with 10 No. 1 Qualifier awards, including six in a row at one point. Johnson has started the weekend sixth or better in qualifying at each of the 21 events contested thus far in 2012. At Las Vegas in the spring, he began his march to the win as the No. 3 qualifier.

“We are really focusing on each run in qualifying and on Sunday in eliminations, and just taking it round-by-round,” said Johnson. “That’s the approach that has gotten us to where we are right now and we aren’t going to change that. If you’re successful in those rounds, you’ll be successful in the points.”

Johnson opened the six-race NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs as the No. 1 seed, has been on top of the standings following each of the first four rounds, and currently holds an 82-point advantage on his nearest competitor. The native of Greeneville, Tenn., has advanced to the final round in three of the first four races of the Countdown, winning in the second round at Dallas.

Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger, has five Pro Stock wins at Las Vegas in six final round appearances. The native of Delaware, Ohio, also won a special-event in his Pro Stock car at the venue in 2008. Coughlin has been the No. 1 Qualifier at Las Vegas twice in his career as well. The four-time Pro Stock champion enters this weekend eighth in the Countdown and is less than 30 points out of the seventh spot.

In Funny Car, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps will continue their title fight at Las Vegas. The pair of Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T drivers out of the Don Schumacher Racing stable are separated by just 23 points with Beckman out front with two races remaining. Teammate Johnny Gray, who has won twice this year, heads to Las Vegas fourth in points. Matt Hagan, the defending Funny Car champion, has reached the final round at Las Vegas twice and also has earned a No.1 Qualifier honor at the venue. The native of Christiansburg, Va., has reached the final round four times this season as he chases his first win of the year.

Johnson’s Statistics of Note

At The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Claimed win in April in an all-Mopar final against Vincent Nobile
Has advanced to at least the semifinals five times
Was the No. 1 Qualifier in fall of 2010

Career

Qualified for Countdown to Championship in all six years since NHRA adopted playoff format in 2007
Claimed 14 career NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock wins
Captured 28 career No. 1 Qualifier Awards
Recorded 34 career final round appearances
Claimed more than 300 career round wins
Has a career best elapsed time of 6.486-seconds and a career best speed of 212.53 mph
Competed in 300th race at 2009 NHRA St. Louis event
Has won the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals four times and reached the final round six times in his sponsor’s event
Won the K&N Horsepower Challenger in 2008, recording a perfect .000 reaction time in the final round
Seized first career win in 1999 at Richmond and went on to claim first top 10 finish in standings
Made NHRA Pro Stock debut in 1996, driving a Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger


Coughlin’s Statistics of Note

At The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Earned five Pro Stock wins
Six final round appearances
No. 1 Qualifier in 2007 and 2008

Career

Four-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008)
Has qualified for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs four times
Claimed 52 career Pro Stock wins
Earned 17 No. 1 Qualifier Awards
Recorded 85 career final round appearances in Pro Stock
Has earned over 450 career round wins in Pro Stock
Has a career best elapsed time of 6.520-seconds and a career best speed of 212.29 mph
Only driver in the 60 year history of NHRA to win in six different categories (Pro Stock Comp, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Dragster)
NHRA Rookie of the Year in 1998
Three-time winner of K&N Horsepower Challenge (1999, 2000, 2009)
Only driver in history to win national events in four categories in one season – Pro Stock, Super Stock, Competition, and Super Gas (1997)
Two-time Mopar HEMI® Challenge winner (Indianapolis, 2004 and Las Vegas, 2006)

12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals
The 12th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals is scheduled to take place Oct. 25–Oct. 28 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nev. One hour of qualifying coverage will air on Sunday, Oct 28, beginning at 1:30 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. Three hours of eliminations coverage will air on Sunday, Oct. 28, starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. For more information on the NHRA, log on to NHRA.com.
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