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Wed, 12 Jul 2017, 09:20 AM

Pro Stock's Allen Johnson Looks to Add to Unprecedented Level of Success on The Mountain
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

At 38th Annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals

MORRISON, Colo. --

Allen Johnson celebrates win last year.
After his annual test session at Bandimere Speedway before the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals a year ago failed to yield the results he wanted, Pro Stock veteran Allen Johnson wasn't sure if the Denver dominance he has enjoyed the past decade would continue.

But during raceday, Johnson and Marathon Petroleum/J&J Racing Dodge Dart came to life and the former world champion once again lived up to his "King of the Mountain" moniker, winning for the seventh time. That tied him with Bob Glidden and John Force for the most wins at the scenic victory, meaning Johnson has big goals, including an 11th straight final round, at this year's 38th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals, which takes place July 21-23 at Bandimere Speedway.

"Last year we just approached it to try to get through the thing because we weren't good at testing," Johnson said. "How it worked out, I'm not sure. We hit on something on Sunday and just built on that. We're going to come out of the box swinging and we're really confident we can go up there and do well. We've accomplished more than anybody else up there, so that sense of pressure is probably gone. But we do take pride in it and it's important for us to do well at this race."

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also last year's winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 and FOX, including live final eliminations on FOX at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 23. It is the 14th of 24 events during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and also the first of three races on the famed NHRA Western Swing.

Of course, Denver has its own challenges, racing at an elevation of more than 5,800 feet, but that has brought out the best in Johnson over the course of a standout career that includes 27 wins. His first finals appearance on the mountain came in 2002 and Johnson has been to every final round since 2007. That unprecedented success included three straight victories from 2012-2014 and although conditions are unique, Johnson is well aware of what a win in Denver can mean.

"A win is always awesome, I don't care where it comes," said Johnson, who is currently 10th in the Pro Stock points standings. "Right now it's important for us to get momentum and get a little better before the (Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship). My goal is to eliminate the first-round losses, have a minimal amount of second-round losses and move up a couple positions if we can."

Pam and Allen Johnson celebrate win.
The good news for Johnson is he appears to be hitting his stride after a rough start to his 2017 season. He opened the year with seven straight first-round losses in the talented Pro Stock class, failing to find the performance he had been hoping for at the beginning of the season. But Johnson has three round wins in the past six races, giving him confidence that something big is about to happen, as he competes against the likes of points leader Bo Butner, who has three wins this season, and two-time 2017 winners Greg Anderson and rookie Tanner Gray.

"We hit on something in Epping and picked up a lot, and I feel like we're about to get things going," Johnson said. "We want to jumpstart our playoff run over the next 3-4 races. Now that we have a direction, we just keep going a little more. There have been a couple of runs we've made that really give us hope with what we're doing. We've been closing the gap quite a bit and that really has us fired up. It's time to turn up the wick a little bit."

Schumacher grabbed his third Denver win in Top Fuel last year, but is trying to track down points leader Steve Torrence, who won at Bandimere in 2015 and has four victories in 2017.

Force's seventh Funny Car win on the mountain tied him for most in NHRA history at the track. He'll look to top points leader and defending world champ Ron Capps, who has six wins this year.

Hines will try for a fifth Pro Stock Motorcycle win in Denver to reach the most in class history, but he'll have to get past points leader LE Tonglet, who already has four victories in 2017.

Roy and Allen Johnson celebrate win.
The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Muy Caliente Racing jet dragsters sponsored by Lucas Oil, driven by the General Manager of Bandimere Speedway, "Sporty" Bandimere! Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 5 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, July 22, at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 23.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-664-UWIN (8946) or 303-697-6001. Tickets also are available online at Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.

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