"It's been quite the journey," added Johnson. "The first year we started, out of 22 races I qualified only one time, and the second year we qualified just five times. We started this as a family and built it from there, and to finally reach the pinnacle has taken a long time, but it has been well worth it."
The championship is the realization of a lifelong dream for Johnson, who began racing in the sportsman Super Stock classes with his father and current engine builder, Roy Johnson, in the late Seventies. Allen and his father decided to make the leap into the Pro Stock ranks in 1996, beginning a battle for the title filled with many high and lows, a hard-fought, 17-year quest for a Pro Stock championship that ended on Saturday by qualifying for the season finale in Pomona.
"I couldn't help getting a little emotional, because 44 years ago I started all this, and it's been 17 years getting here with my son, with a lot of fussing and arguing, but we made it," said Roy Johnson. "I had my lights go out in 2007 (Roy suffered a near-fatal heart attack at the NHRA Phoenix event that year), and they shocked me back to life. I'm glad they didn't leave my lights out, so we could enjoy this moment together."
"This is just an awesome feeling and everyone has worked super hard for this, and everyone can see that," said Mark Ingersoll, longtime crew chief for Johnson & Johnson Racing. "I lost my dad this year, and would have liked to have shared this with him, like Allen and Roy are able to do, but to do this with my racing family is very special.""Roy and Allen have put together such a great program here, surrounding themselves with good people who have an unquestionable work ethic, and we made some big gains in the past two years," said Jim Yates, J&J Racing team engineer, who came onboard last season to provide valuable assistance to Ingersoll and the J&J Racing team. "I think next year is just going to be even better." Johnson notched his J&J Racing squad in the NHRA record book as champions thanks to a career season. Heading into elimination rounds at the NHRA Finals on Sunday, Johnson has earned six wins in 2012, tripling his career best for victories in a season, advanced to a career-best 10 final rounds, claimed 10 No. 1 Qualifier awards, a class-best, and posted a career-best 51-16 round win record thus far. The Team Mopar veteran will attempt to claim his 16th career win and first ever at Pomona on Sunday. Elimination rounds for the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona will begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT, with Johnson set to lineup against Greg Stanfield in the opening round. Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman and Ron Capps (who claimed the Funny Car pole on Saturday) are also favorites for the 2012 NHRA Funny Car championship, as the duo are 1-2, respectively, entering tomorrow, giving the Mopar brand the chance for a two-championship haul this weekend. About Mopar Motorsports Mopar's commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950's when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer, Don Garlits. Combined efforts between Garlits and the Mopar brand resulted in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in a HEMI-powered car over the next several decades. Mopar has remained a fixture on the racing scene in the North America ever since and is currently involved with the NHRA, NASCAR, USAC and TORC series. Mopar also sponsors many motorsports events, including title sponsorship of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado for nearly 25 consecutive years; and it is a proud supporter of amateur racing within NHRA and USAC. Mopar-First Features Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owners a text when the vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
- Camper trailers: first to introduce off-road camper trailers
- WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network About the Mopar Brand Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC's service, parts and customer-care brand and distributes 280,000 parts and accessories. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat SpA, Mopar's global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 120 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat SpA brands.