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Allen Johnson earned his ninth final-round appearance of the seaon and third in a row in a runner-up performance on Sunday, Sept. 30, at the AAA NHRA Midwest Nationals, held near St. Louis. But the stat that matters most to Johnson is the 109-point lead the Team Mopar veteran will take away from Gateway Motorsports Park, a greater sum than when he entered the third of six races in the NHRA Pro Stock Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Johnson, starting out of the No. 2 spot in Pro Stock, squared off with Greg Stanfield in the opening round on Sunday, earning the victory with an elapsed time of 6.535-seconds at 211.49 mph. With lane choice over Mike Edwards in the quarterfinals, Johnson motored to an easy win on the strength of a 6.517/212.03 run after Edwards encountered trouble shortly after leaving the starting line.
In a semifinals showdown with teammate Vincent Nobile, who competes with Mopar HEMI engines supplied by Johnson’s J&J Racing team, AJ survived a red-knuckle pedalfest. He and Nobile both made sudden moves off the starting line and were forced to get off the throttle, with Johnson getting back in gear and to the finish line first with a 8.564/184.60 pass.
In a rematch of their final-round battle last week at Dallas, won by Johnson, the Greeneville, Tenn., native came out on the opposite end against Erica Enders. Johnson reeled off a quicker and faster 6.538/212.13 to Enders’ 6.540/211.79, but his solid .019 reaction time wasn’t enough to overcome his opponent’s .013 mark.
“Believe it or not, we sort of struggled all weekend here,” said Johnson, who earned his 34th career final-round appearance today and also the 299th round win of his career. “We didn’t make any good runs until the second round today. In the semis the track had just been sprayed, and Vincent and I didn’t move a foot. Luckily, I got it in gear before he did and beat him, but that destroyed the clutch. We had to put a new clutch in for the final, and I think it affected us. Our 60-ft. mark wasn’t very good at all.
“The Mopar Dodge Avenger team is leaving here with about 20 more points than we came with, with three races left, so we can take that away. We’ve got 12 rounds to go, but we have to just stay consistent and gain points. The team is staying here in St. Louis an extra day to test. We’re going to work tomorrow, work on our 60-ft. marks and see if we can go to Reading (the next event) and do better.”
Mopar-powered Pro Stocker V. Gaines posted a 6.551/210.87 in the opening stanza but exited on a holeshot loss to Buddy Perksinson, while Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger pilot Jeg Coughlin Jr. fell to pole sitter Jason Line. Dodge racer Chris McGaha was dealt an opening-round defeat by Nobile. [10/4/2012]
After opening Mopar facilities in Argentina, Brazil, China and the United Arab Emirates, Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat SpA have announced the opening of Mopar parts distribution centers in Australia, Japan and Russia.
"We are expanding our operations in order to fully support our customers and dealers in growing markets around the world," said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand. "We will continue to look for opportunities to satisfy our customers and support our dealer network."
The parts distribution center in Australia is located in Port Melbourne, Victoria. The 10,000 sq.-meter facility will distribute more than 18,600 part numbers to nearly 75 dealer locations. The 11,000 sq.-meter warehouse in Japan is located in Yokohama, and will move more than 41,000 parts to support 145 outlets. In Moscow, a 4,500 sq.-meter facility will distribute more than 20,000 parts to nearly 140 dealers. [10/4/2012]