Allen Johnson has been trying really hard during the Countdown not to think about the overall picture. He has tried not to get too confident in his NHRA Pro Stock points lead. He has been especially careful not to daydream about how sweet winning his first series title would be for himself and for his father Roy, who chased the dream, taught him drag racing, and builds his engines.
But the fans are no help with that at all.
When they ask for autographs, they remind him constantly that he is on the verge of scoring the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series championship.
"You try to [block it out], but every person who walks up to you asks, 'Can you write No. 1 on there?' or something. It's hard to do, but we're just enjoying the ride and enjoying the success we've had. Hopefully we can take that and build on it this weekend," he said after establishing himself as the provisional No. 1 qualifier Friday at the Big O Tires Nationals.
He recorded a 6.600-second elapsed time at 208.68 mph on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's quarter-mile, payoff for his testing here last week along with chief rival Jason Line and fellow Dodge Avenger driver V Gaines.
Tentative No. 2 Mike Edwards was .015 of a second slower in the Penhall / K&N / Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP, and Line was third at 6.621 seconds in the KB / Summit Racing Equipment Camaro.
"Anytime you can test, it’s great, especially right before an event, at a track you haven't run on in months," Johnson, who drives the Team Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge, said. "Our engine combination has changed a lot since then. Hemis are a lot different than they were at the first of the year."
He repeated his consistency mantra and insisted that this weekend "our goal is to get every little point we can get. I felt like the day was very successful."
Johnson said he wasn't racing with a special agenda other than to gather every possible point.
"We're not setting out to send a message. We're just setting out to d our own deal and be the No. 1 car every single run and put ourselves in position Sunday to win," he said.
Sentiment has no real place for him during qualifying, either. He and his father aren't becoming swept up in the romance of a championship, at least not yet.
"We don't want to jinx ourselves by talking about it," Allen Johnson said. "But it's always in your mind."
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