MORRISON, Colo. – Defending NHRA Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson continued his incredible run at Bandimere Speedway and raced to his fourth win of the 2013 season Sunday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car) and Shawn Gann (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, the 14th of 24 in the 2013 season.
In a thrilling final round, both Johnson and Gaines powered their Mopar Dodge Avengers in a repeat of last year’s final in Denver. Johnson’s performance of 6.989 seconds at 196.87 mph took down the Colorado native’s 7.015 at 196.67 in the final round. It marked the second straight Pro Stock victory for Johnson in Denver, fourth in five years and fifth overall for the Greeneville, Tenn. native who also made his seventh straight final round appearance on Thunder Mountain.
“Winning this weekend was very important to me because it was the 25th anniversary of Mopar’s sponsorship of this race,” said Johnson, who was also the No. 1 qualifier. “It’s been a great marriage between Mopar and the Bandimere family, and I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge and honor that relationship than with a win.”
Johnson outran points leader Mike Edwards in the second round and then Rickie Jones in the semifinals to reach the final round against fellow Dodge Avenger campaigner. Johnson and Jeg Coughlin also clinched spots in the Countdown to the Championship, joining Edwards in the class.
“My crew is the reason that we’ve had all of this success for the last seven races here,” said Johnson. “They are just so determined to win it every year. I have to thank them and the man upstairs.”
In Top Fuel, Massey claimed his third victory of the season and 13th of his career, defeating Houston winner Bob Vandergriff in the final round in his 8,000-horsepower Battery Extender/Schumacher Electric dragster. Massey covered the distance in 3.974 at 309.27 to knock off Vandergriff’s C&J Energy Services dragster, which went 4.029 at 304.67.
Massey, who won for the second time in Denver, remains third in the Mello Yello Top Fuel points standings. Massey outran Clay Millican, Mike Strasburg and points leader Shawn Langdon to advance to the final round. Langdon and Tony Schumacher also became the first two racers in the class to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship.
“I was very surprised to see my DSR teammates Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown not running up to their full potential this weekend,” Massey said. “But again, that just shows you just how tough racing on the mountain is, and I’m sure that both teams will be very tough once we return to sea level at Sonoma. The key to winning here today was to tune smart and drive smart, and that’s exactly what we were able to do.
“We didn’t have the power that we wanted during qualifying, but this isn’t a horsepower race. I was surprised that there wasn’t as much tire smoking in eliminations as was expected. The key to winning here today was to tune smart and drive smart, and that’s exactly what we were able to do.”