Defending NHRA Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson took a play out of teammate Vincent Nobile’s 2012 playbook this weekend, winning both the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals and the K&N Horsepower Challenge at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Johnson earned $100,000 for his efforts.
Tony Schumacher won in Top Fuel and Cruz Pedregon won in Funny Car.
Johnson, who won the $50,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge all-star event on Saturday, pocketed $25,000 for winning Sunday’s race and the $25,000 NHRA Sweep Bonus for winning both events. Johnson is the seventh Pro Stock driver to sweep both events in the 29-year history of the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
Johnson cruised to his second consecutive win of the season and second straight at this event with a final round performance of 6.713 seconds at 206.76 miles-per-hour in his Dodge Avenger. His final round opponent Erica Enders-Stevens shut her Chevy Camaro off at mid-track.
In earlier rounds, Johnson defeated JR Carr, Nobile and Jeg Coughlin. The Tennessee driver moved into the points lead for the first time this season, jumping ahead of the event’s #1 qualifier, Mike Edwards, by four points.
“It seems like our car really likes altitude tracks, and hats off to my guys for pulling off the sweep today,” said defending world champion Johnson of his 18th career victory. “Erica is a great driver and has come into her own and she makes me rise to the occasion. We’re good friends, but the friendship kind of goes on hold when the helmet goes on. It’s awesome to win both races. It takes a lot of money to run these cars so anytime you can infuse a little extra money into the budget it is a good thing.”
Team Summit drivers Jason Line and Greg Anderson remain focused and optimistic despite the much slower start to 2013 than they experienced a year ago.
“We definitely learned something today, and neither one of the runs were great, but my Summit Racing Camaro actually felt as good as it has in a long time,” Line said yesterday following the race. “My level of optimism in the last 12 hours has shifted dramatically, and even though we didn’t win today, I do think we learned things that are absolutely, positively going to help us. I’m pretty excited about that.”
Team Summit also had the opportunity to compete in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a special bonus race for the top seven Pro Stock drivers plus one driver voted in as fan-favorite. Anderson and Line were each out of the gate ahead of their respective opponents to pocket hole shot wins in the first round and missed an all-Summit final by just one round.
With so much information logged over the course of the weekend, Line and Anderson, both still in pursuit of an event win in 2013, share an eager resolve to resume testing as soon as the KB Racing team returns to home base in Mooresville, N.C.
“Obviously, the same old adage is true: Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting,” Line said. “We need to make changes, so we are, we will, and we’re going to keep working until we get it. That’s all there is to it.”
Pro Stock Championship point standings
1. Allen Johnson 354 2. Mike Edwards 350 3. Jeg Coughlin 330 4. Erica Enders-Stevens 302 5. Vincent Nobile 276
Funny Car Championship point standings
1. Courtney Force 315 2. Johnny Gray 301 3. Cruz Pedregon 298 4. Matt Hagan 284 5. Ron Capps 277
Top Fuel Championship point standings
1. Tony Schumacher 386 2. Antron Brown 372 3. Spencer Massey 250 4. Shawn Langdon 244 5. Clay Millican 225
The NHRA and Drag Race Central contributed to this report.