Seven races into the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season, a trend has emerged during qualifying in the highly competitive Pro Stock class, with Allen Johnson and Jason Line having already shared the top two starting positions four times. At the last two events, the talented tandem split the No. 1 position, with Johnson earning the honors at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, TX, while Line claimed the pole at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, performances that earned each driver $3,000 in K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus money.
Johnson took advantage of the favorable conditions on Friday evening at Royal Purple Raceway to clock a quick 6.546-second time with a top speed of 211.93 mph, and then held on through Saturday’s final two sessions to claim the top spot by four thousandths over second-place Line. It was the 20th No. 1 qualifying performance of the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger driver’s career, second of the 2012 season and first at Houston speed plant, not only solidifying his fourth place ranking in the K&N Horsepower Challenge standings, but also allowed him to close within 90 points of third-place Greg Anderson.
"One of the greatest moments of my career thus far is winning the 2009 K&N Horsepower Challenge,” said Allen Johnson. “I wear my K&N championship ring proudly. With the No. 1 Qualifier spot at Gainesville, and now with our most recent pole at Houston, the Mopar Dodge Avenger team is in line for a great starting position for the 2012 K&N championship. The program is just great, and it brings a bright spotlight and shines it on the exciting and highly competitive racing that exists today in the Pro Stock class. I think I speak for all Pro Stock drivers when I say we can’t thank the folks at K&N enough for all they have done to promote our sport through the K&N Horsepower Challenge. I hope I can seize that second championship in July at Norwalk.”
Line, meanwhile, continued an impressive string which has seen the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac start in either the first or second position in 15 of the last 16 races. Faced with the pressure of qualifying for his sponsor’s race, Line responded by posting the quickest elapsed time in three of the four sessions, with his 6.607-second, 209.04 mph pass in Saturday morning’s third session claiming his fourth pole of 2012, 28th of his career and first at Atlanta Dragway.
With only four races remaining before the field is set for this year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge, Line now leads second-place Mike Edwards by an impressive 230 points. In addition, his 750-point edge over eighth place guarantees that he will make his eighth start in the NHRA’s longest-running professional specialty race, making him the first driver to lock himself in this year’s field.
“It’s a great thing to be the No. 1 qualifier here at the Summit race in Atlanta,” said Line. “As our primary sponsor, these races are very important to us. They like nothing better than to see us go faster than everyone else and we want to do whatever is necessary to make Summit Racing proud that we carry their name on the side of our race cars. Just as they have all season, my team gave me a great hot rod, and we were able to take advantage of it by putting it on the pole, earning the K&N bonus money for the fourth time this year.
“I can’t say enough about K&N’s contributions to the sport of drag racing and the Pro Stock class. I appreciate everything they do for us, and am proud to represent them once again as the No. 1 qualifier here in Atlanta. They are a great company with tremendous people and an even better product.
“We’re looking forward to this year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge in Norwalk, and even though we are locked into the field, this entire KB Racing team is going to work very hard to keep our No. 1 ranking. After all, there’s going to be a lot of money on the table, and we want to take home the win and the big check.”
As Line continues to expand his lead at the top of the HPC standings, the fight for the seventh and final guaranteed starting position continues to rage, with Mountain View Tire Avenger driver Vincent Nobile and MAVtv Pontiac pilot Rodger Brogdon swapping positions after Atlanta, with Nobile now in the transfer spot by just 40 points. With a maximum of 175 points available in each of the remaining events, this battle figures to go down to the final qualifying race at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL.
All articles and photography published in CompetitionPlus.com are protected by United States of America and International copyright laws unless mentioned otherwise. The content on this website is intended for the private use of the reader and may not be published or reposted in any form without the prior written consent of CompetitionPlus.com.
|< Prev||Next >|