Kurt Busch completes a burnout under the watchful eye of mentor Allen Johnson
Photo: Dodge Motorsports

Allen Johnson competes at Pomona last November
Photo: Anne Proffit

Fresh off his victory in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway (the driver's first at this track), Kurt Busch is thinking he might have an edge that none of his other competitors do on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trail.

Just three days prior to the season-opening salvo at DIS, Busch took part in a second test session at Bradenton (FL) Motorsports Park in the Shell-sponsored NHRA Pro Stock Dodge Avenger he intends to debut at the second Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event of the season, the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL on March 10-13.  

Busch showed he’s more than a circle track racer during the testing session, posting a very respectable 6.58-second pass in his Shell Dodge Avenger at Bradenton, a time that would easily place him in the field at most any Pro Stock contest.  He also recorded quarter-mile times of 6.57 seconds and 6.60 seconds in an earlier January test at the same facility.

The 2004 Sprint Cup champion, whose Pro Stock Hemi engines come from the J&J Racing team, has a solid chance to qualify for the Gatornationals, according to mentor and regular NHRA Dodge Mopar competitor Allen Johnson, whose father Roy builds engines for both cars.

“He’s a professional, and he has that extreme drive-to-win [attitude] found in all successful racers,” Allen Johnson said.  “I really believe he will make the show at the Gators.  The rest of the folks in the Pro Stock class better not take him lightly.

"Kurt is having so much fun - this is his second straight visit to the NHRA Gatornationals after competing in Super Gas last year.  It's awesome to see how much passion he has for drag racing," Johnson said.  

J&J Racing’s engine program is a threat everywhere the NHRA races and Allen Johnson used his own test session at Bradenton to record a 6.498-second drive down the dragstrip, making him – unofficially – first to break the 6.50-second barrier.  Johnson performed this feat even as he was breaking in a new chassis on his Mopar Dodge Avenger.

“I have a real fire to make 2011 the year we put it all together,” Johnson vowed.  He claimed eight No. 1 spots and one victory during the 2010 campaign.  “This J&J Racing team has proven we are among the elite in Pro Stock, and now it’s time to take that next step and go all the way.”

© 2011 Anne Proffit