GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 18, 2017) – Qualifying is complete at the 48th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and the Marathon Petroleum Co./J&J Racing Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson is starting from the No. 11 seed, his highest of the 2017 season so far.
On Friday, Johnson brought his Dodge Dart to the starting line and squared the tires at the hit; he coasted to the finish line with a 13.879-second pass at 85.62 mph. He returned in Friday’s afternoon session with his Adam Hornberger-tuned car and they put the power to the track. Johnson launched with ease but the Dodge Dart made a hard left straight for the wall and Johnson was forced to push the clutch back in; he clocked in with a 9.838, 93.04.
Despite the challenging Friday at Gainesville Raceway, the Marathon Petroleum team never let it phase them. Johnson jumped up the ladder instantly when he posted a 6.549, 211.56 on the scoreboard in Saturday's first session.
“That run felt really good,” Johnson said. “I think we were fifth of the session and that was what we were shooting for – the middle of the pack. It was the first pass all season that was worth anything really so we were real happy with it.”
Johnson closed out qualifying with a troubled 18.562, 60.69 because of a broken shock potentially impacted during the burnout in the final session.
“We were shooting to go up there and do a little better than earlier today and it looks like it broke the shock in the burnout,” he admitted. “We’ll go back to the setup we had in the third session and give them something in the first round.”
No. 11 Allen Johnson will race No. 6 Shane Gray in the first round tomorrow. They have raced already once this year in Pomona and Johnson is ready to settle the score.
“We owe him one for Pomona,” he added. “We’re running better than we were in February so hopefully our Marathon Petroleum Dart makes a solid run and I do my job as a driver.”
ALLEN JOHNSON, MARATHON PETROLEUM/J&J RACING DODGE DART
Qualified: No. 11
JOHNSON vs. Shane Gray
Friday: 13.879-seconds, 85.62 mph (Session 1); 9.838, 93.04 (Session 2)
Saturday: 6.549, 211.56 (Session 3); 18.562, 60.69 (Session 4)