The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season kicks off February 14th through 17th with the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in California, and 2012 Pro Stock champion Allen Johnson is going into the 2013 season with new cars and new crew members.
“This off-season has been a lot of work, a lot of additions to our team,” said Johnson in a recent NHRA teleconference. “That would be the first thing we're looking forward to. Second thing is we have expanded our team. We brought Jeggy (Jeg Coughlin) onboard. We have three cars now to gather information from, expanded our team somewhat with some personnel that can add value. I think we've got a very professional, very well thought out, laid out team to go to combat with this year against the KB cars, (Mike) Edwards, Erica (Enders-Stevens), the Cagnazzi bunch.”
Even as the defending champion in the class, Johnson knows he can’t just sit back and rest with the competition now gunning for him. “You know, I told somebody just recently here at home, they pinned me down on exactly how are you feeling right now. I said, I got a little bit of a scared feeling going in that I can't perform at the level we ended on,” said Johnson. “I say that to my crew and they back me up pretty quick saying, ‘We're going to go in just like we finished and we're going to be tough.’ It's been a very satisfying time off to get to do a lot of things the spotlight brings you. Like all the other champions, we all like to help in projects, needy projects, the unfortunate folks that need help. I've utilized the spotlight to do quite a bit of that in the off-season. That really makes you feel good.”
Something else that is making Johnson feel good is the commitment from Chrysler, his long-time sponsor and supporter. “First of all, I'd like to say I could not have a better sponsor,” said Johnson. “That company is just ripping. I'm telling you, the Chrysler Corporation has come back with a bang. Being up there with Jack (Beckman, 2012 Funny Car champ) the last couple of days, seeing what Mopar and Chrysler and all the brands, Dodge, Jeep, everybody are doing to motivate sales, to motivate employees, to motivate the racing programs, it's just phenomenal. It's the best management group, best group of folks I've ever seen. Their commitment to Pro Stock and to NHRA is very real. They will do anything and everything we ask. They want another championship. They're just like us: they don't want to just stop now. Hats off to them. They're doing a great job at it.”
Get ready for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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