It was a great weekend on the track for the Chrysler Group: Mopar driver Allen Johnson captured the “Wally” trophy for the Pro Stock class at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals near Denver, while the SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R sports cars grabbed the pole and two of the three podium steps in the GT class at the American Le Mans Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park near Toronto.
Johnson is the defending Pro Stock champion for the drag race at Bandimere Speedway, as well as the reigning Pro Stock champ. He dominated the Bandimere track this year, earning the top qualifier spot. The final elimination was an all-Mopar affair that pitted Johnson against V. Gaines, with Johnson reaching the finish line 0.086 seconds ahead of Gaines.
“Winning this weekend was very important to me because it was the 25th anniversary of Mopar’s sponsorship of this race,” said Johnson, who was also the No. 1 qualifier. “It’s been a great marriage between Mopar and the Bandimere family, and I can’t think of a better way to acknowledge and honor that relationship than with a win.”
The win enabled Johnson to narrow the gap on Pro Stock leader Mike Edwards to 73 points. Johnson and Mopar driver Jeg Coughlin Jr., who lost to Edwards in the first round of eliminations, clinched berths in the NHRA’s playoff battle, known as the Countdown to the Championship. Coughlin remains in third place in the Pro Stock standings.
The Mopar drag racers head to Sonoma, Calif., this weekend for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, the racing Viper GTS-Rs of SRT Motorsports posted their best performance since returning to the ALMS series last year.
The No. 91 SRT Viper GTS-R, driven by Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens, finished in second place in the GT class, a mere 0.267 seconds behind a Chevrolet Corvette in the 2 hour, 45 minute race. On the last lap the Viper, with Farnbacher at the wheel, pulled alongside the Corvette but couldn’t make the pass on the twisty Canadian Tire Motorsports Park track at Mosport.
The No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R, driven by Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer, qualified for the GT class pole position and led 44 laps during the race, but was hampered by a pit road speeding penalty. Wittmer drove the car from 6th position to 3rd over the last 37 minutes of the race.
“It was a great drive by all of the drivers; perfect teamwork,” Goossens said after the race. “We needed a little more luck on our side but once again, the SRT Motorsports team has come a long way. I think everybody now knows that we are there and we are ready to fight for wins and championships.”
The SRT Motorsports team gets back on the track in three weeks for the ALMS race at Road America in Wisconsin.