Greeneville native Allen Johnson took time to answer a few questions with The Greeneville Sun following his season-ending win at Pomona, California Sunday evening.
Johnson wrapped up the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock World Championship the night before, and then went out an punctuated it with his series-best seventh victory of the year.
SUN: After your win at Las Vegas, you had two weeks to really put into perspective what it would be like to win your first-ever championship. During that long break, did you try to keep from thinking about it or was it constantly weighing on your mind?
AJ: The championship was constantly on my mind, to the degree that I read an article about it in a magazine, had a dream about it and woke up in a cold sweat! I dreamed I got trapped on an airplane and couldn't even get here. Everybody in Greeneville has been so excited. They've constantly been asking me about it, so it has been on my mind. So yeah, it was a bit nerve wracking.
SUN: The Mopar Johnson & Johnson team has been the hottest on the circuit the second half of the season. What has been the key?
AJ: A great team has been our key to consistency. I preached that all year. We did that through hard work and a lot of testing. It's just a great team.
SUN: How important has the team been in your success, particularly the past few seasons when things have really started to take off?
AJ: The team has meant everything to my success. I had to work so hard to keep up with them; they give me such a good car to drive. I can't say enough about the J&J racing crew, based right here out of our little old shop in Greeneville.
Other than the championship, what has been the highlight of the 2012 season for you?
The consistency of the team the whole year was a highlight, buy also giving my sponsor, Mopar, a win at its big race, the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals, and during its 75th anniversary.
SUN: How emotional is it for you to share this moment with your dad, a culmination of a 17-year journey you two have been on together?
It's beyond words. I can't say how much it means. I'm going to try to get up on stage today during the NHRA banquet and say it in my speech, but I might need a crying towel.