Alan Johnson may have a way to go to pass Austin Coil as the most prolific fuel tuner in drag racing history, but is there any doubt that he'll end up on top in the end? Johnson, who won three Top Fuel championships (1997, 1998, and 2000) with driver Gary Scelzi and the Winston team a decade ago, another five with Tony Schumacher's Army dragsters in the 2000s (2004-08), and his first of who knows how many with Larry Dixon and the Al-Anabi team last year, is still in his early 50s.
And just how many Top Fuel championships would Johnson's late brother Blaine have by now if his life hadn't been cut short by a crash during qualifying for the 1996 U.S. Nationals? No one questions whether Blaine, then in just his third year in Top Fuel, would have won that 1996 title. Even Kenny Bernstein, who won a tainted title that year said so, graciously handing the championship trophy to the Johnson family during the awards ceremony in perhaps the classiest move of his long career. "I know this will have an asterisk next to it," Bernstein said at the time. "It will always be there."
"I think Blaine definitely would have a lot of Top Fuel championships by now," Johnson has said of his younger brother, who set the Indianapolis Raceway Park track record (4.61) on that fateful run. "I've had a lot of great drivers over the years, and I mean great drivers, but to me, Blaine is the best of them all."