Alan Johnson knows a few things about winning NHRA Top Fuel championships.
He’s done so six different times in his tenure as a team owner – 1997, 1998, 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2013 – with five different drivers: Gary Scelzi, Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon, Del Worsham and most recently Shawn Langdon.
John Force also knows a few things about winning NHRA championships. He’s won a record 16 Funny Car titles.
The duo has teamed for the 2016 season where Johnson will serve as both a consultant and tuner for the Monster Energy-sponsored Top Fuel dragster driven by Force’s daughter, Brittany.
“(John Force Racing Funny Car crew chief Mike Neff) asked me if I might be interested in helping them this year,” Johnson told NHRA.com (see video). “Then, John and Robert (JFR president Robert Hight) called and kind of pressed the issue further. We talked for a while, went out to dinner and came to some sort of an agreement that should work. I think we’re all excited to get Brittany that first win.”
It’s Johnson’s return to the sport after a very difficult season in 2015, when primary sponsor Al-Anabi Racing pulled its funding just weeks before the season began.
While Johnson tried to piecemeal funding to keep his team running, he finally had to cease operations just as the six-race Countdown to the Championship began.
Langdon, meanwhile, has moved on to drive for Don Schumacher Racing.
With Johnson free of team ownership responsibilities now, he’s decided to help Brittany upgrade her own dragster.
“She’s really responsive to everything,” Johnson said of Brittany Force to NHRA.com. “She’s really excited and I think it’s going to end up working really well.”
In addition, long known as a technical innovator in the sport, Johnson will provide the majority of parts that will make up Brittany’s dragster.
“Probably the biggest thing is they will allow us to come in with our own parts,” Johnson told NHRA.com. “All the things we’ve built here at AJPE (Alan Johnson Performance Engineering) and have been so successful with, to bring those into their team and replace the stuff.
“… Had we gone in and tried to just work with what they had, it would have been a much more difficult task. But when we got the agreement to bring our stuff in, change everything out and we want to win, that was the ticket there.”
Johnson will work hand-in-hand with crew chief Brian Husen, according to a JFR spokesman. It will be a reunion for the two men, as Husen and Johnson spent several years together on the Al-Anabi team. Johnson is considered by many as the best tuner in Top Fuel racing.
Johnson will also serve as a consultant to Steve Torrence Racing during the season, as well.