Pro Stock Champ Allen Johnson Will Drive Geoff Turk’s Blackbird Challenger

A.J. Will Drive Car While Turk Recovers From Surgery...

Mopar drag racing fans are in for a treat as Allen Johnson, the celebrated 2012 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion, gears up to make a remarkable comeback. In an exciting turn of events, Johnson has been named the new driver for Geoff Turk’s Factory X Dodge Challenger entry, the awe-inspiring Blackbird X. This announcement has ignited a wave of enthusiasm among racing enthusiasts, eager to witness Johnson’s return to the sport where he has left an indelible mark.

Geoff Turk’s Blackbird X Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. (Geoff Turk).

Geoff Turk, the trailblazing driver who shattered barriers by becoming the first Factory Stock competitor to achieve sevens in a quarter-mile run, had originally planned to helm his Blackbird X Challenger. However, a testing accident in April dramatically altered Turk’s plans when he suffered a brain hemorrhage, compelling him to undergo immediate surgery. Despite his ongoing recovery, Turk has chosen to step aside and hand over the reins to Johnson, who eagerly embraced this new opportunity.

Reflecting on his new venture, Johnson expressed his excitement about the Factory X class and his unwavering loyalty to the Mopar brand that has been a driving force throughout his illustrious career. Having retired from Pro Stock after the 2017 season, Johnson recently competed in the Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and had contemplated participating in a limited number of races each year. However, Turk’s unexpected offer perfectly aligned with Johnson’s aspirations, allowing him to continue driving under the Mopar banner that holds a special place in his heart.

Geoff Turk’s Blackbird X Drag Pak after his incident. (Geoff Turk).

Turk’s decision to choose Johnson as his replacement driver stems from their successful collaboration on the Johnsons’ Factory Stock program. Their encounter in Bradenton, Florida, where Turk helped the Johnsons overcome challenges, forged a strong bond between the two teams. Turk holds Johnson in high regard, recognizing his wealth of knowledge and expertise garnered over more than 500 Pro Stock races. Johnson’s clutch and five-speed prowess, honed through extensive experience, made him the ideal choice to take over the Blackbird X Challenger.

“AJ is also the guy you want with a clutch and a five-speed,” Turk acknowledged. “He’s been to more than 500 races in Pro Stock, and it takes a long time to get that sort of insight.”

Allen Johnson behind the wheel of his Dodge Dart Pro Stocker. (Allen Johnson Racing).

As the reconstruction of Turk’s Blackbird X gains momentum, the team remains optimistic about meeting their testing deadlines before the upcoming NHRA Factory X events in Topeka, Brainerd, Charlotte, St. Louis, and Las Vegas. Despite the tight schedule, Turk is resolute, praising the efforts of Dave Zientara from ET Extreme, who has played a crucial role in restoring the car to its former glory.

Turk understands the unique characteristics of a Factory X car, a hybrid of Pro Stock and Factory Stock vehicles requiring specialized chassis tuning techniques. Prior to his accident, Turk achieved impressive performance figures, offering a glimpse of the Blackbird X’s potential to achieve six-second runs at speeds exceeding 200 mph. The accident served as a valuable learning experience, prompting Turk to make adjustments to counter the car’s tendency to become light at high speeds. Collaborating with fellow drivers like Greg Stanfield, Turk has shared knowledge and insights to enhance the car’s performance and overall balance.

Allen Johnson behind the wheel of his Dodge Dart Pro Stocker. (Allen Johnson Racing).

“Stanfield explained what happened on his first few runs, and we shared what we thought, and as a result, we’ll make some suspension changes,” Turk explained. “We’re still not where we want to be, but we will figure this out.”

The Factory X class made its highly anticipated debut at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, where Greg Stanfield’s Rod Shop Camaro garnered widespread acclaim. Buoyed by the positive response, Turk envisions a promising future for the class, anticipating a substantial increase in participation in the years to come.

Allen Johnson looks on between competition rounds. (Allen Johnson Racing).

Looking ahead, Johnson’s return to drag racing, alongside his deep-rooted association with the Mopar brand, has sparked tremendous anticipation among fans. As the Factory X series progresses, racing enthusiasts eagerly await Johnson’s performances behind the wheel of the Blackbird X Challenger, eager to witness the resurgence of a true champion and his unwavering commitment to reclaiming victory.

In Johnson’s own words, “I’ve always been a Mopar man and would have been disappointed to drive anything else, if even for two or three races.” With Johnson’s unwavering dedication and the spirit of collaboration between the Johnsons and Turk’s team, the stage is set for a thrilling chapter in drag racing history.

Source: NHRA

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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AJ must be admired for his loyalty to Mopar. I choose to be a Mopar guy, no matter what, in the face of some peer group pressure, but I never waiver. Not sure if factory X is taking the factory stock class down the same rabbit hole that ruined Pro Stock and NASCAR for that matter by creating non stock, stock cars. The shinning example is Funny Car, a totally irrelevant class today that has taken what was a stock appearing car, powered by a brand matching engine into something from Star Wars The Pro classes are now like Pro Wrestling, a staged show. So sad.
It is true, the inability of Ford and Chevy to compete against the Mopar Hemi led to all Funny Cars, regardless of brand, being powered by Mopar engines. The current bodies have little resemblance to the cars they are suppose to be and fans generally have lost interest. I worry this new class will destroy any semblance of stock derived cars into another Pro Stock debacle that no one follows anymore. NASCAR, NHRA ....they never learn.

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