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Johnson Gets a Piece of the Rock with Open Comp Allstar Victory

Posted By: FSC Team
Johnson Gets a Piece of the Rock with Open Comp Allstar Victory
By the FSC Staff
The battle to determine the best of the best in the ARP Open Comp class in the Holley NMRA Drag Racing Series and Magnafuel Open Comp class in the Red Line Oil NMCA Drag Racing Series came to a head recently during the All-Star Nationals presented by Sipple’s Speed and Performance at Rockingham Dragway. In the Open Comp All-Star Showdown presented by Eagle, Jim Johnson of Westland, Mich., earned the title and bragging rights by driving his ’92 Mustang to victory over a tough field.
Johnson defeated fellow Mustang racer Terry Haynal of Ocklawaha, Ky., in the thrilling double-breakout final round, posting a 9.342 against his 9.35 dial. Haynal wasn’t far behind with an 11.061 against his 11.09 prediction. 
For Johnson, the win was worth $1,500 of a total prize pool of $3,500 while Haynal claimed $1,000 for the runner-up finish in his ’95 Mustang GT.
The exclusive 16-car field for the Open Comp All-Star Showdown presented by Eagle, was comprised of the reigning NMCA Open Comp champion followed by the next five NMCA 2023 Championship points finishers. The reigning NMCA champion also got a pick, while the final spot was filled as a wild card entry via a chip draw from the remaining NMCA Open Comp competitors who passed Tech in Rockingham. The same rules were used on the NMRA side to fill the eight available spots.
Johnson, coming off a tough early loss at the season-opening Spring Break Shootout in Gainesville, Fla., found himself in a bit of trouble in round one when he gave up a starting line advantage to Steve Satchell. Johnson got a break when Satchell couldn’t cover his 9.44 dial with a 9.680.
Tom Hoffman fouled in the quarterfinal round, allowing Johnson to advance with a perfect 9.350 that would have been tough to beat regardless. 
Johnson once again gave up the lead against Gordon Harlow, another NMRA regular in the semifinal round, but rallied with a 9.404 to turn on the win light after Harlow broke out with a 9.997 on his 10.03 dial. 
Haynal, who went on to a semifinal finish in Sunday’s ARP Open Comp eliminations, was extremely steady on his side of the ladder with wins against Scott Williams, David Rickey, and Dana Tebay to reach the final round. 
The Open Comp classes offer some of the most competitive racing in both the NMRA and NMCA series with big fields that typically exceed 32 cars. This means enduring six rounds of eliminations on race day. The rules for Open Comp also present a unique challenge as a racer’s quickest elapsed time during qualifying automatically becomes his or her dial (or Index) for the event, minus one tenth of a second. That allows for varying strategies and helps explain why some of the best racers from both series come from the Open Comp categories.

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