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NHRA’s Allen Johnson To Retire

| , RacinToday.com Friday, September 1 2017

Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson says he will retire following the current NHRA season.

RacinToday.com

Veteran Mopar campaigner Allen Johnson, the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock world champion, announced he will retire at the end of the current season during a press conference Friday prior to the start of the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.

“It’s been an amazing run for my dad (Roy) and I, but it just felt like now was the right time to step away from the Pro Stock chapter of our careers,” said Johnson, whose wife Pam and mother Revonda also are familiar figures in the Pro Stock pits. “We’ve celebrated an NHRA world championship, captured wins at historic tracks like Gainesville (Fla.), Pomona (Calif.) and Bandimere (Colo.), and basically lived our dream for 22 years. We couldn’t have done it without the help and hard work of our J&J Racing team members over the years.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a season-high, No. 3 qualifying effort in his Dodge Dart at the recent NHRA national event at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota and a string of encouraging performances.

“We thought we were done at the end of 2015 and Marathon Petroleum Corporation stepped-up to help us out,” Johnson said from the Raceway Media Center Conference Room at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Clermont, Ind. “They’re a great partner of mine in business and they saw the value in the NHRA and our program and they stepped-up and saved the day. The people at Marathon Petroleum have gone above and beyond for me in business and on track and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for our team the last two years.”

Bill McCleave, brand marketing director for Marathon, said the past two seasons with the Johnson family’s approach to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has been rewarding.

“While our partnership on the racing side will come to an end, we have the privilege and honor of continuing to work with Allen as Marathon Branded Jobber Greenville Oil and Petroleum,” McCleave said. “We’re also excited for Allen, Pam, Roy and Revonda as they enter this next chapter.”

Johnson currently owns 27 NHRA National event wins, good for ninth overall in Pro Stock class history. His 37 No. 1 qualifier spots also rank sixth all-time among “Factory Hot Rod” drivers and are tied for 22nd overall in NHRA history. Johnson, with father Roy by his side and building his engines, has raced to 59 final rounds in 497 career races during his 22-year career _ all spent competing in a Mopar HEMI®-powered Dodge Pro Stock machine.

“Allen Johnson has served Mopar as a beloved ambassador for more than 20 years and has earned a special place in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our brand,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global. “We will never forget Allen succeeding in his long quest to capture a Pro Stock championship, or his amazing run of victories at our showcase event, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

“I speak not just for the Mopar brand, but also on a personal level, when I say we cherish the special bonds we have built with AJ and his father Roy over the years. It’s been a family affair for them, and we wish them both, as well as the entire J&J Racing team, nothing but the best as they move onto their next challenge.”

Johnson saved his best for the Mopar brand’s biggest event, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals held each July at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., near Denver, earning the nickname “King of the Mountain.” Carrying the Mopar banner, he tasted victory at the event seven times, tied for most alongside Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden, and advanced to a record 11 final rounds. Between 2007–2016, Johnson built an amazing streak of 10 consecutive final-round appearances and a near-perfect 37-3 round-win record at the venue.

“Mopar has been there for all those 22 years, through the good times and the bad, either as our primary or associate sponsor and it’s been just an amazing relationship,” said Johnson, a 57-year-old resident of Greeneville, Tenn. “I’ve gotten close to so many folks from the brand, including Pietro, who has shown us great support and will often text or email me despite his busy schedule. We’ve also become friends with thousands of Mopar fans, who are some of the most passionate people you’ll run into. They’ve always had our back and cheered us on, I think because they know dad and I are just like them _ our whole lives, all we’ve ever driven is Mopar.”

Johnson is ninth in the Pro Stock standings and seeking to lock up a top-10 spot this weekend at the U.S. Nationals to secure his berth in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs for an 11th consecutive season. Johnson never has missed the six-race postseason dating to 2007, when NHRA first adopted the playoff format.

Johnson entered his first Pro Stock event in 1996, forming the J&J Racing team along with engine-builder/father Roy, who worked as a technician at a Dodge dealership in the 1960s. Father and son competed in Mopar-powered NHRA Sportsman competition prior to their move into the professional ranks.

The team started humbly, entering 18 events that first year and only qualifying for one _ the Mopar Mile-High Nationals. The Johnsons first tasted NHRA Pro Stock victory three years later at Richmond in 1999, as well as their first of 14 top-10 finishes in the final standings later that year.

In 2012, after a 17-year chase, Johnson finally joined Pro Stock’s elite. He racked up career bests in wins (seven), final-round appearances (11), poles (10) and round-wins (55) en route to seizing the NHRA Pro Stock crown. He finished as runnerup in 2013 in his bid for a repeat but still celebrated another championship, with J&J Racing teammate and customer Jeg Coughlin Jr. edging him for the Pro Stock World title.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, September 1 2017
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