Johnson boys do it again
Jul 31, 2012 at 6:51 PM
If the third time is the charm, the fourth time is a cause for celebration for a pair of race car drivers named Johnson.
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson captured his fourth Brickyard 400 title on Sunday. In the NHRA ranks, Greeneville driver Allen Johnson won for the fourth time this season, beating Greg Anderson in the Pro Stock final at Sonoma, Calif.
Jimmie Johnson tied his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for most Brickyard 400 wins. He also tied Indianapolis 500 champions A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway all-time win list.
Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher has the most Indy wins, five victories in the U.S. Grand Prix.
With five straight Sprint Cup championships, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet has already compiled numbers to make him a sure bet for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. His win on Sunday was the 58th of his Cup Series career, eighth all-time and only 16 wins behind Dale Earnhardt.
Speaking of Earnhardt, the usually reserved Johnson has caused quite a stir in recent months with talk of winning eight Cup Series championships.
That would put him ahead of Richard Petty and Earnhardt for the most all-time. Another of his goals is to pass teammate Gordon on the all-time win list.
Although difficult, it would seem both goals are attainable.
Currently fourth in the point standings, Johnson, 36, appears to have a great shot at a sixth championship this year. He is 27 points behind current leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., although if the Chase started today, Johnson would be the points leader based on his three wins to Earnhardt’s one.
As far as running down his teammate on the all-time win list, that is a challenge as well considering Gordon has 85 wins and is still active in the sport.
You have to believe Gordon will add at least 5-10 more wins before he retires, meaning Johnson will need around 40 more wins to catch him.
While those are long-term goals, Johnson has plenty of reason to celebrate in the short term with his place in Indianapolis history now secure.
For local racer Allen Johnson, the win on Sunday was his second straight following a victory at his sponsor’s race in Denver the week before.
Besides winning back-to-back national events for the first time in his career, the Dodge Avenger driver led all rounds of qualifying for a second straight weekend.
Coming into this season, Johnson had compiled solid career numbers with nine wins in 16 years. With this season’s bounty which includes eight No. 1 qualifying awards, he is up to 13 wins, 26 poles and 30 final-round appearances.
In addition, he has a 54-point lead over Anderson in the NHRA Pro Stock point standings and has clinched a spot in the ‘Countdown to the Championship.’
No matter what happens the rest of the season, a fourth victory ensures that 2012 is a year to remember for Allen Johnson.
Nate Monteith scored his eighth NASCAR All-American Series Late Model Stock victory of the season this past Friday night at Kingsport Speedway.
The Blountville driver charged from seventh place to pass Blake Jones for the lead on lap 26. Once out front, he stayed there for the rest of the 60-lap race.
Johnson City’s Zeke Shell finished third, and now holds a 19-point advantage over Paul Nogradi Jr. for the runner-up sport in the Late Model standings.
Among other local drivers, Hayden Woods of Piney Flats finished fourth and Joey Trent of Gray finished 13th in the 20-car field.
In the support classes, Chris Tunnell scored his first Street Stock victory in three years, John Ketron won for the seventh time this season in Pure 4 and Dylan Bates won for the fourth time in Rookie Pure 4.
In the Legends division, Tyler Goodwin continued to dominate. The 16-year-old Daniel Boone student won for the 15th time in 17 tries.
The season is winding down at Kingsport with the final three weekly racing programs starting this Friday night.
Jensen Ford of Piney Flats won the pole and led flag-to-flag to win the Pro Late Model feature at Volunteer Speedway this past Friday night.
Defending track champion Dale Ball of Johnson City was on his bumper for most of the 35-lap race. However, Ball had a flat tire with five laps to go, handing the runner-up spot to Jonesborough’s Tim Byrd. Behind the lead duo, Johnson City’s Tim Maupin finished third after making a charge from an 11th place start.
Jonesborough’s Jon Cook was also the victim of a flat tire in the Modified Hobby feature. Leading the race when his left front tire when flat on lap 12, it moved Jamie Whitt to the point. The Wise, Va., driver held on for a division-leading sixth win of the season.
Georgia driver Casey Roberts proved to be the class of the field in a 53-lap feature for the Schaffer Oil Southern Nationals Super Late Models. Roberts paced qualifying and went on to grab the victory.
Not to be confused, the Southern Regional Series headlines this Saturday’s Volunteer Speedway program with a 30-lap feature as the main event.
Bristol Dragway regular Carson Brown won the 11-year-old age group during the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League
Eastern Conference Finals at his home track last Saturday.
Another Bristol regular, Ben Denton, of Bristol, Va., was the runner-up to Cody Barnhart of Cullman, Ala., in the
the 16-17 category.
Six other racers — Thomas Oates of Clearbrook, Va. (age 8-9), Alec Harper of Meansville, Ga. (age 10), Nicholas Altenbach of Westerville, Ohio (age 12), Jackson Core of Crowley, La. (age 13), Schuyler Turner of Fostoria, Ohio (age 14) and Morgen Wood of Wabash, Ind. (age 15) — also earned top honors.
Huntsville Dragway Team 1 won the team competition. Bristol Dragway Team 1 and Bristol Dragway Team 3 tied for third.
The All Harley Drag Racing Association Thunder in the Valley Nationals come to Bristol Dragway this weekend.
Fans can expect plenty of fast action with 16 classes of competition, highlighted by the Top Fuel class which features machines capable of speeds in excess of 230 mph.
Nitro Harleys, modified gas bikes, street bikes and more make up the remaining divisions.