INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 3, 2017) – It’s been an emotional weekend so far for the Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Dodge Dart team led by 2012 Pro Stock World Champion Allen Johnson. With Johnson’s retirement announcement coming on Friday afternoon at the 63rd annual U.S. Nationals, he quickly turned his focus back to performing on track and working to win his first U.S. Nationals in his 22-year career.
On Friday evening, Johnson’s Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Dodge Dart squared the tires at the hit and coasted to a12.528-seconds pass at 86.68 mph.
Saturday, Johnson made a solid 6.676, 206.51 and went straight down Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Capitalizing on the good track conditions, the Adam Hornberger-tuned team came back and made a huge improvement when Johnson crossed the finish line with a 6.601, 209.43.
“I think we missed the setup and it wasn’t quite right in the first or second session,” Johnson admitted. “I think it might’ve been a set of tires giving us some trouble or the clutch package. We don’t know which one it was so we just put everything back to where we had it in Brainerd and it ran pretty okay.”
Sunday, Johnson suffered tire shake in the fourth qualifier and clocked in with a 10.564, 85.40. The Greeneville, Tenn.-native finished strong with a 6.655, 207.66.
Johnson qualified No. 10 and will race Johnny Gray in the first round of eliminations.
“We supplied Johnny Gray motors for two years when he ran Pro Stock last,” he added. “Johnny can drive just about anything so I’ve got to be up on my game tomorrow.”
With the conclusion of qualifying, Johnson clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship and will run for the championship the last six races of the season before he retires from professional drag racing. He admits that this weekend has felt different since his retirement announcement.
“It’s weird,” he said. “Every person you see says something about it and it’s a little strange. Everyone has thanked me for all the years we’ve raced and being a great ambassador for the class; it’s been real nice.”
ALLEN JOHNSON, MARATHON PETROLEUM/J&J RACING DODGE DART
Q1: 12.528-seconds, 86.68 mph
Q2: 6.676, 206.51
Q3: 6.601, 209.43
Q4: 10.564, 85.40
Q5: 6.655, 207.66
Qualified: No. 10
First Round Opponent: Johnny Gray