BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 18, 2016) – Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson returned to his home track, Bristol Dragway, for the 16th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals and qualified in the No. 6 spot. Johnson will race Alex Laughlin in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.
In the first session of qualifying, Johnson set the tone with a 6.726-second pass at 205.47 mph. After a late evening rain delay, the Marathon team came back at nearly 9:30 p.m. to make their second pass in front of the spectacular fans at Bristol Dragway. Johnson made a big improvement with a 6.708, 204.66.
On Saturday, Johnson approached the burnout as he does on any other pass and came up to the stage beams. When he let out the clutch, his Dodge Dart shut off after the 60-foot cone and he coasted to a stop; no time was posted for Johnson on that run. The team regrouped and came back with a stout 6.709, 206.51.
“We consistently did what we meant to do in qualifying,” Johnson said. “We made a mistake in the third qualifying session which was pretty big but I think we have a great racecar for tomorrow. The track is going to be a little grimy because we go behind the fuel cars but hopefully the track will come to us tomorrow.”
Johnson closed out qualifying in the No. 6 spot and will race No. 9 Alex Laughlin. Just one week ago, Johnson edged out Laughlin in the first round of eliminations in Englishtown, New Jersey.
“Raceday is always a driver’s day,” he added. “If you do your job as a driver, you’ll do good tomorrow.”
ALLEN JOHNSON, MARATHON PETROLEUM CO./J&J RACING DODGE DART
Qualified: No. 6
JOHNSON vs. Alex Laughlin
FRIDAY: 6.726-second, 205.47 mph (Session 1); 6.708, 204.66 (Session 2)
SATURDAY: No Time (Session 3); 6.709, 206.51 (Session 4)
SUNDAY, June 19, FS1 will televise three hours of finals coverage at 4 p.m. (ET)