Allen Johnson is on the cusp of realizing a dream 17 years in the making.
The Greeneville native needs only to qualify for the this week's season-ending event at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California to clinch the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock championship.
For Johnson, it's what he has had his sights on since he and his father, Roy, made a full-time return to the sport back in the mid 1990's.
"For my dad and me, it will be a dream come true," Johnson said in his weekly blog last week. "We've done it all from our little race shop in Greeneville, along with a bunch of help from Mopar."
"To work side-by-side with my dad for 17 years, and to be so close to accomplishing a championship with him is something special."
The 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals begin today Pomona. Johnson enters the event with a 126-point lead over Jason Line, the two-time defending series champ.
Johnson has been the No. 1 qualifier at 10 events this season, and has been sixth or better on the clock at all 22 stops on the NHRA schedule.
"A little bit of the pressure is off, but we want to go to Pomona and make a statement that we're the best care this year," Johnson said. "We want to go there and seal the deal, push just as hard as we have all year and win the race."
"We are approaching it the same way as we would if we only had a 26-point lead."
Johnson has already had a year to remember in 2012. He entered the season with nine career wins. His victory at Las Vegas on October 28 gave him six on the year. He has also earned a career-high 51 rounds wins this season.
Johnson has reached the final round of Pomona once, but has never won at the track.
"Winning there is like a win at Indy or Gainesville - it's a must do," Johnson noted. "It's still on my bucket list. And there's no better time to do it than now, and put an excalmation point on our season."
Johnson has advanced to the semifinals at Pomona six times in his career.
The NHRA Series opened its 2012 schedule at the track located just outside of Los Angeles back in February. Johnson qualified fourth and made it to the quarterfinals.
He has quallified among the top half of the field in 11 of his last 13 starts at Pomona. He was the No. 1 qualifier at the venue in the season-ending event in 2010.
"We'll go at qualifying just like we have all year," Johnson said, "trying to be No. 1 each round and get all the little qualifying points we can."
"We're going to proceed like we've got a big hammer in our hands. We learned a few things at Pomona earlier in the year that should help us this week."
Johnson has been the hottest driver on the NHRA pro stock series the second half of 2012.
He was third in points after finishing runner-up in a virtual dead heat at Bristol Dragway's Thunder Valley Nationals back in June. At that juncture of the season, he had only won two races.
Since then, however, he has claimed four titles and has been in front of the Pro Stock standings after all five rounds of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Johnson said at the time that he expects "to win five or six races this year."
Now that he has reached that goal, he wants to take it one step further...seven wins and a championship.