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Dodge Avenger NHRA Racing at Pomona, February 14, 2010

Photos by Patrick N. Clement • Text based on Dodge materials

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Allen Johnson wrapped up his debut weekend in his brand new 2010 Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger in promising fashion, powering his new ride to the semifinals result at the 50th Annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Johnson claimed his 190th career round win during the event and is now third in the Pro Stock point standings.

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Johnson started his Mopar Dodge Avenger at No. 4, gaining three bonus points overall during qualifying. The Greeneville, Tenn., native knocked off Steve Spiess in the opening round on the strength of a 6.637/209.49 run. Johnson dialed up another solid mark in his quarterfinals defeat of Roger Brogdon, clocking a 6.634/209.20 pass to collect career round win No. 190.

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Johnson drew a formidable matchup in the semifinals: reigning Pro Stock champion Mike Edwards, who got lane choice. Johnson's run of 6.645/209.95 was stout but was not enough to best Edwards' 6.615/210.11 pass.

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Johnson was energized by reaching the semifinals in the Mopar Dodge Avenger's competition debut. He said:

We're tickled to death. We made three good runs today. We even made a decent run in that right lane, which gives everyone fits. The new Mopar Dodge Avenger has got a bigger window than our previous car, and it's faster. We really have got something to work with.

I felt like my driving was decent all day. I'm right about where I want to be. I think we reached all of our goals today in the new car's debut, short of winning the race. It gives us some momentum going to Phoenix, and we'll take it. We'll head there and see if we can go one better and go to the final.

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Vinnie Deceglie qualified No. 7 in his first race in his HEMI®-fueled Dodge Avenger. The Southern California native was dealt a holeshot loss in a first-round fight with Ronnie Humphrey. His quicker and faster 6.647/208.71 pass was negated by his slower reaction time, .085 to Humphrey's .033 (.000 is perfect).

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Next up for the Mopar-powered Dodge Avenger drivers is the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 19-21, at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.

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Below: The yellow-shirted crew man guides the DHL car as it backs up into its own footprint from its burnout, where the
rubber was laid down, and where one launches from for extra traction. He's
relaying the information from another crewman behind the car and who can see
the rear tires (slicks) and where the burnout was.

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The DHL car was a Toyota; they did an arguably better job than Chevrolet or Dodge in branding their vehicle, since you can easily see the big Toyota emblem even from the side, while Chevrolet's bowtie is quite small and you pretty much have to know what an Avenger looks like up front to recognize the Dodge entries. Toyota was well represented with the DHL and Head cars, among others, as the Japanese outfit continues its effort to impress Americans with how American it is.

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