GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (May 16, 2017) – If there was one word to describe Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing driver Allen Johnson’s season, it’d be progress. He is hoping to take that progress and ink his first victory of the season at this weekend’s 29th annual Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka.
“It’s getting to the part of the season where it’s very important to do well,” Johnson said. “We’ve made a few more gains this past week on the dyno so we’re hoping our performance may be just a little better than it was in Atlanta. It’d be nice to get lane choice for first round and start winning some rounds.”
In the eighth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, there are eleven races in the regular season left to get into the Countdown to the Championship. Sitting on the outside looking in, Johnson knows the importance of knocking down some of his competition on raceday.
“Points are important and we have to start paying attention to them because we’re not in the top ten right now,” Johnson admitted. “You know, we’re just gonna take it round by round like we always do in our Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart and try to get better. We gotta get better to get points and win rounds.”
With questionable weather on the horizon that may threaten Friday’s qualifying, capitalizing on the qualifying runs they do get is very crucial.
“We just go into each race with the best setup we have on the dyno,” Johnson admits. “We haven’t tested it because we made some big changes. If the weather cuts our qualifying short, we’re prepared to go up there with our best estimated and educated guess from the dyno.”
Qualifying at the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals begins on Friday, May 19th with two runs at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Two more qualifying runs will be held on Saturday, May 20th at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Eliminations will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 21st starting with Top Fuel.
Allen Johnson – A Brief History at Heartland Park Topeka
Been to the final five times in his career at Heartland Park Topeka
Won in 2009 over Mike Edwards, 2012 over Greg Anderson, and 2014 over Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Last Year Performance: Qualified No. 7; lost in the semifinals to Greg Anderson
AJ has nabbed 450 round wins in his career
Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Run Schedule:
Friday, May 19: qualifying at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Saturday, May 20: qualifying at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Sunday, May 21: eliminations at 11:00 a.m. (ET)
Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Television Schedule:
Friday, May 19, FS1 will televise one hour of pre-recorded qualifying at 11 p.m. (EST)
Saturday, May 20, FS1 will televise one hour of live qualifying at 3 p.m. (EST)
Sunday, May 21, FS1 will televise three hours of live finals at 2 p.m. (EST)