At a press conference last Friday, 2012 NHRA Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson said he will retire from Pro Stock competition at this season’s end.
“It’s been an amazing run for my dad [Roy] and I, but it just felt like now was the right time to step away from the Pro Stock chapter of our careers,” said Johnson during the conference, held at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. “We’ve celebrated an NHRA world championship, captured wins at historic tracks like Gainesville, Pomona and Bandimere, and basically lived our dream for 22 years. We couldn’t have done it without the help and hard work of our J&J Racing team members over the years.”
This retirement clearly isn’t due to failing abilities, as Johnson’s announcement closely followed his season-high No. 3 qualifying effort at the NHRA Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd along with several other impressive showings.
“We thought we were done at the end of 2015 and Marathon Petroleum Corporation stepped up to help us out,” Johnson added. “They’re a great partner of mine in business and they saw the value in the NHRA and our program, and they stepped up and saved the day. The people at Marathon Petroleum have gone above and beyond for me in business and on track and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for our team the last two years.”
“These past two years with the Johnson and Johnson Racing Team have been very special for the Marathon brand,” said brand marketing director Bill McCleave. “While our partnership on the racing side will come to an end, we have the privilege and honor of continuing to work with Allen as Marathon Branded Jobber Greenville Oil and Petroleum. We’re also excited for Allen, Pam, Roy, and Revonda (Johnson’s family) as they enter this next chapter.”
With 27 NHRA national event wins under his belt, 57-year-old Johnson stands at ninth overall in Pro Stock class history. His 37 No. 1 qualifier spots also rank sixth all-time in Pro Stock. He’s in a tie for 22nd overall in NHRA history. With the support of his father Roy, who builds his engines, Johnson has driven to 59 final rounds in 497 career races, spread over the period of a 22-year career. All 22 of those years were spent competing in a Mopar Hemi-powered Dodge Pro Stock machine.
He began competing in the sportsman ranks back in 1977, so his time in the racing world goes back even further than his time in Pro Stock. He’s also a motorcycle fan, relying on his faithful Harley for rides off the track. A native of Kentucky, he’s close to his family, living in the same town as his two daughters.
“Allen Johnson has served Mopar as a beloved ambassador for more than 20 years and has earned a special place in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our brand,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global. “We will never forget Allen succeeding in his long quest to capture a Pro Stock championship, or his amazing run of victories at our showcase event, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.
“I speak not just for the Mopar brand, but also on a personal level, when I say we cherish the special bonds we have built with AJ and his father Roy over the years. It’s been a family affair for them, and we wish them both, as well as the entire J&J Racing team, nothing but the best as they move on to their next challenge.”
Johnson has always pulled out his best performances at the Mopar brand’s biggest event, the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. These are held every July at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, granting the nickname “King of the Mountain.” Johnson has borne the the Mopar banner to victory seven times there, bringing him to a tie with the legendary Bob Glidden. He’s advanced to a record 11 final rounds as well. From 2007 to 2016, Johnson accomplished an astonishing 10 consecutive final-round appearances and an almost perfect 37-3 round-win record at the venue.
“Mopar has been there for all those 22 years, through the good times and the bad, either as our primary or associate sponsor, and it’s been just an amazing relationship. I’ve gotten close to so many folks from the brand, including Pietro, who has shown us great support and will often text or email me despite his busy schedule,” Johnson said. “We’ve also become friends with thousands of Mopar fans, who are some of the most passionate people you’ll run into. They’ve always had our back and cheered us on, I think because they know dad and I are just like them — our whole lives, all we’ve ever driven is Mopar.”
Currently ninth in the Pro Stock standings, Johnson’s looking to lock up a top-10 spot this weekend at the U.S. Nationals to secure his place in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs for the 11th consecutive season. He has never once missed the postseason since 2007, when NHRA first adopted the playoff format.
We at RacingJunk wish Johnson and his family the best as he departs from Pro Stock competition. He’s certainly leaving his mark on racing as he goes!