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Allen Johnson re-ups with Marathon

by Bill Cawthon on

Longtime Pro Stock Dodge driver Allen Johnson, cut off by Mopar at the end of the last season, has renewed his sponsorship deal with Marathon Oil for the 2017 NHRA drag racing season. It’s a natural fit: Johnson owns Greenville Oil and Petroleum, which has 37 Marathon-branded Quick Stop Markets.


The champion in 2012 and runner-up to Jeg Coughlin Jr. in 2013, Johnson is the only Dodge driver to have made it to a final round in the past two years. Struggling to compete with the dominant Chevy Camaros, and with only two races left in the 2016 season, Johnson has been able to win just three races since the Mopar Mile High Nationals in 2014.

There does seem to be a problem and it’s most likely not the drivers. Darts are being driven by world champions from the 2012-2015 seasons, but rules changes, including a switch to electronic fuel injection, have hit the Dodges hard. Johnson is is having his worst year since 2010, and neither Coughlin nor Erica Enders have made it to a final round this season; both barely qualified for the Countdown to the Championship. Veteran Dodge driver V. Gaines retired from the sport, saying it wasn’t fun any more.

There has been no word yet on Mopar’s Pro Stock plans for 2017.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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