Allen Johnson juggles a number of businesses back home in Greeneville, Tenn., including several service station-mini marts, warehouses, pawn shop, and hair salon.
The East Tennessee State University graduate approaches his National Hot Rod Association Pro Stock career using the principles he learned in college and has used for success in his 9-5 life.
It seemed only natural that Johnson would speak like a community business leader or even a banker Friday at Pacific Raceways near Seattle after becoming the provisional No. 1 qualifier for the O'Reilly Northwest Nationals.
He drove the Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Avenger to a 6.554-second elapsed time at 211.66 mph in the first session that held up as the quickest and fastest of the class. If no one can top his E.T. in two Saturday sessions, Johnson will have his sixth in a row, ninth of the season, and 27th of his career.
“We ended 2010 with five No. 1 qualifiers in a row. We were very inconsistent on Sunday," Johnson said. "Now, we’ve put together a business plan for this year with personnel and things in place to be more consistent on Sunday. It’s paid dividends."
A business plan . . . How practical for the Pro Stock points leader.
That's exactly how Johnson wants to conduct himself as the Countdown to the Championship approaches. After this race and the ones at Brainerd, Minn., and Indianapolis, the six-race playoff will start in September at Charlotte.
"We’re just taking it round by round," Johnson said. "The Mopar Dodge Avenger is strong, bad to the bone. The crew is hitting on all eight cylinders. Everybody is hyped and focused."
Johnson, like Antron Brown in the Top Fuel class, has the chance to sweep the so-called Western Swing. He has won the Mopar Mile High Nationals at Denver and the Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma, Calif., and all that stands between him and being the second Pro Stock driver to accomplish that is a victory Sunday here.
"You’d think the sweep talk might unglue us or make us nervous. Believe it or not, everyone is having fun and enjoying the highs, because there are certainly a lot more lows out there in drag racing," Johnson said.
He can’t help but be business-like, though. "I’m taking it round by round and remaining focused," he said, almost as if he were coaching himself to remember to stay calm.
He did allow himself to ay, "I love the last three tracks I’ve been at."
However, what's probably more exciting to this veteran who has the best chance of his career to win the championship, Johnson has a chance to be the quickest driver in every session of every race of the Countdown.
"That’s our focus right now. We have the ability to do it, and we want to build those bonus points every qualifying pass," he said. "Of course, you do that and you’re No. 1 and you get more points. That's 20 points. If we can learn to do that and stay consistent through the Countdown doing that, how big is that going to be?"
Overall, Johnson said he thinks favorably about Seattle.
"The last few years here we’ve done well, although we stunk it up last year. For the most part, we’ve done well in Seattle. I love the views."
The view from the top always is the most impressive.
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 >|