By Patrick Rall
This past weekend marked the inaugural New England Nationals in Epping New Hampshire and Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson was able to claim the first Pro Stock title handed out at the new venue.
The Dodge Avengers got out of the gate strong with Jeg Coughlin taking the top qualifying spot with Allen Johnson coming in a close 2nd. The other two Dodge competitors in the field – V Gaines and Vincent Nobile qualified in the 7th and 8th spots, respectively. In round 1, Coughlin had the bye since only 15 cars entered the field while Nobile beat Rodger Brogdon and Allen Johnson beat John Gaydosh Jr. V Gaines pulled an awful light in round 1 and that allowed Tom Martino to advanced to the second round. In round 2, Coughlin pulled a smoking fast reaction time and put down a solid run to beat Nobile while Allen Johnson got the easy win over Martino who broke early in the run. In round 3, Coughlin pulled down a stunning 0.001 but it was all for not when he ran into traction issues, giving the easy win to Shane Gray. In the other side of the final four, Allen Johnson laid the smackdown to Mike Edwards to advance to the finals. In the final round, Johnson squared off against Gray and while the Gray Motorsports Camaro posted a better ET and a quicker MPH, Johnson’s starting line advantage gave him the big win.
On the year, Johnson finds himself in 2nd place, 124 points out of the lead. Jeg Coughlin is 3rd, Vincent Nobile is 7th and V Gaines rounds out the top ten.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well for the Dodge drivers over in the Funny Car ladder. There were six drivers in the field piloting Dodge Chargers with Matt Hagan being the quickest of them in qualifying as he grabbed the second spot – falling just 0.006 short of the top position that was claimed by John Force. However, Hagan was knocked out in the first round by fellow Mopar driver and 15th place qualifier Blake Alexander when Hagan ran into problems on the top end of the track. Johnny Gray also lost in the first round but Jeff Arrend, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman and Alexander all moved onto the second round. Capps beat Del Worsham and Beckman beat Alexander while Jeff Arend lost to John Force. This sent Capps to take on John Force while Beckman would take on John’s daughter, Courtney Force. Unfortunately for Team Mopar, both of the Force Mustangs posted strong runs and set up a father-daughter final that would be won by Courtney.
On the season, Matt Hagan still hangs onto the top spot with Johnny Grey in the 3rd spot, Jack Beckman in the 6th spot and Ron Capps sits 7th.