A.J. clinches spot in Countdown, earns Full Throttle award, goes to semi's
Sonoma, Sunday: It was a stellar weekend for Allen Johnson and the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus team. The team first earned the Full Throttle Challenge Award for consistency in qualifying, qualified No. 2, clinched a spot in the top eight for the Countdown to the Championship - which begins following the next two national events in Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Pa. - then landed in the semifinal round.
En route to the semifinal today, his third of the season, he dismissed Larry Morgan with a 6.643/207.24, then used a 6.660/2067.86 lap to defeat Kurt Johnson in the quarterfinal.
In the semis, Jason Line nailed a .009 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to Johnson's .039, then also outran A.J. to the finish line, taking the win with a 6.645/208.07 to Johnson's 6.659/207.15.
"We had a great weekend," said Johnson, fourth in the points rankings. "There when the track started getting hot, it started getting away from us a little bit. That last run there, Jason just threw a bulb at me and it was too much to overcome.
"Clinching a spot in the championship is awesome, for the first time we ever had this playoff concept. We're real happy about it. We need to get Richie a little luck, though.
"The team is just really jelling right now," he said of earning the Full Throttle award. "It's the first time we ever won that award, actually. We've come close several times. It just speaks volumes about the whole Mopar/J&J Racing team."
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