TOPEKA, Kans. (May 20, 2017) – Allen Johnson powered the Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Dodge Dart to the No. 10 position after three rounds of qualifying at the 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals.
On Friday, it was all but considered a wash-out as Mother Nature lingered overhead with dark clouds and persistent rain all throughout the afternoon. With a brief break in the storms, the NHRA Safety Safari was able to dry the track in record time and Pro Stock was able to make one run. Johnson crossed the finish line at Heartland Park Topeka with a 6.697-second pass at 206.13 mph.
Saturday’s weather presented a different set of challenges for the Marathon Petroleum team. The Adam Hornberger-tuned team turned heads in the first session of the day when he clocked in with a 6.583, 209.17. That pass was sixth fastest of the session – one of their best performances of the season thus far.
“That run sure felt good,” Johnson smiled. “Each week, we try to do ‘knock it out of the park’ type stuff and you know, it’s basically starting over every week because we try new stuff on the dyno and then bring that to the next race. That run felt real good and it’s still got a little left in it. It feels really good to be as close as we are to the competition.”
Johnson finished qualifying with a consistent 6.587, 210.11 and landed in the No. 10 position. He will race Matt Hartford in the first round of eliminations tomorrow; the last time this pair staged up against each other in eliminations was Dallas, Texas in 2014. Despite losing lane choice for first round, Johnson is confident it’ll be a driver-tuner combination that’ll come out victorious on raceday.
“Everybody on this Marathon Petroleum team is gonna have to do their job tomorrow,” he added. “Everybody is so close right now and it’s anybody’s game right now. We’ve got a shot at it.”
ALLEN JOHNSON, MARATHON PETROLEUM/J&J RACING DODGE DART
Qualified: No. 10
JOHNSON vs. Matt Hartford
Friday: 6.697-seconds, 206.13 mph (Session 1);
Saturday: 6.583, 209.17 (Session 2); 6.587, 210.11(Session 3)