Allen Johnson will lead the K&N Horsepower Challenge field as the No. 1 seed for the second time in his career as the lucrative special event takes center stage March 29 during the 15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
A purse of $76,000 is available for the eight drivers competing in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. The winner of the 30th annual K&N Horsepower Challenge will earn $50,000. The runner-up will earn $10,000, the two semifinalists $3,000 each, and the four first-round finishers $2,500 apiece.
Johnson, from Greeneville, Tenn., is a two-time and defending winner of the event. He qualified No. 1 at three of the 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events where drivers could earn K&N Horsepower Challenge points. It will be the driver of the Team Mopar Dodge Dart’s 11th appearance in the bonus event.
The $148,000 K&N Horsepower Challenge showcases eight Pro Stock teams in a race-within-a-race bonus event. Seven of the teams qualified during a 24-race span from the 2013 SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, through the 2014 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida. The eighth-place driver – David Connolly – was selected via a special fan vote on the K&N website.
Besides the $76,000 available in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, bonuses of $72,000 were paid to the top Pro Stock qualifiers throughout the 24-races in the K&N Horsepower Challenge, including $3,000 to the No. 1 qualifier at each race.
This year’s K&N Horsepower Challenge field features four past winners and four drivers who are looking for their first victory in the special event. The past winners are top seed Johnson, defending champ Vincent Nobile, second seed Jeg Coughlin, who is a three-time K&N Horsepower Challenge winner, and fan vote winner Connolly, who won the K&N Horsepower Challenge in 2005 and was runner-up in 2004.
Among the four drivers who have never won, Jason Line is a three-time runner-up in the event. Erica Enders-Stevens is making her fifth start in the special event and was runner-up last year. Veteran driver V Gaines is making his fourth career start in the K&N Horsepower Challenge and fourth seed Shane Gray is making his second start in the bonus event.
Enders-Stevens, the highest eligible points-earning driver outside the top seven, was inserted into the field in place of Mike Edwards, who is not competing in the event.
In the opening round, top-seeded Johnson will face K&N fan-vote winner Connolly. Second-seeded Coughlin will meet 2012 winner Nobile; third-seeded Enders-Stevens will face Gaines; and Gray will meet Line in the other first-round pairing.
Other past winners of the K&N Horsepower Challenge include Darrell Alderman, Bruce Allen, Greg Anderson, Bob Glidden, Kurt Johnson, Warren Johnson, Larry Morgan, and Jim Yates.
K&N Horsepower Challenge rounds are scheduled for 1 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on March 29.
|2014 K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE FINAL STANDINGS
||Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Team Mopar Dodge Dart
||Jeg Coughlin Jr., Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart
||Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro
||Shane Gray, Denver, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro
||Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Chevy Camaro
||V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger
||Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro
||Dave Connolly, Mooresville, N.C., Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro
|*Highest eligible points-earning driver not already in the field inserted into the No. 3 starting spot in place of Mike Edwards
2014 K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE ROUND PAIRINGS
FIRST ROUND (1 p.m.):
Johnson vs. Connolly
Coughlin vs. Nobile
Enders-Stevens vs. Gaines
Gray vs. Line
SEMIFINALS (3:45 p.m.):
Johnson vs. Connolly winner vs. Gray vs. Line winner
Coughlin vs. Nobile winner vs. Enders-Stevens vs. Gaines winner
FINAL (4:45 p.m.)