Former NHRA star and local drag racing legend Allen Johnson may have called it a career following the 2017 season, but he found himself at Thunder Valley once again Thursday evening.
Johnson was honored by Bristol Dragway employees and family with a special champagne toast celebration. Bristol Dragway GM Jerry Caldwell also presented Johnson with a customized Thunder Valley golf bag to honor Johnson’s career accomplishments and all that he’s done to support the track and its region.
“Coming here and seeing this means so much to my family and team,” said Johnson. “We’ve always had great camaraderie all through the years. It’s nice to go out and see the sights [of the NHRA circuit], but it’s always awesome coming home and seeing the mountains and Bristol.”
The Greeneville, Tenn. native was also able to enjoy the lights with his family and his fans on the BMS Express, Bristol’s version of the Polar Express. Some of the highlights of the route included the new Race to Space Tunnel presented by Mycroft Signs and Ripley’s Sea of Illumination.
The former world champion also spent some time chatting about his illustrious career with several other news reporters from around the region. He said he’s excited about what he accomplished but is ready to spend more time with family.
Johnson finished his evening in the Christmas Village meeting with fans and signing autographs.
The beloved NHRA star called time on his career following the 2017 season finale at Pomona. Johnson finished his career with 27 wins and 37 poles. The highlight of his career came in 2012, when he defeated Jason Line to win the Pro Stock world championship. Johnson finished his Bristol career with two No. 1 qualifiers and a runner-up finish in 2012 in one of the closest finishes in NHRA history.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights runs through Saturday, Jan. 6. The event costs $15 for cars from Sunday through Thursday and $20 on Friday and Saturday nights. For $45, guests can take advantage of Jingle Bell Lane, the “fast pass” option that offers a shorter wait time to enter the attraction.
Guests wanting a special experience are encouraged to check out the BMS Express, which runs Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30. The cost is $10 per guest and includes cookies, hot chocolate, a covered, relaxing ride through the lights and a 30-minute visit to the Christmas Village presented by Eastman Credit Union.
For more information, visit www.speedwayinlights.org. As always, all proceeds for The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights will be used by SCC to give to numerous organizations that serve children in the 18-county area surrounding BMS.