HARF Hall of Fame
is the epitome of Hoosier racing in the terms of what weekend
racer, family racer, and long time racer means to the fans in
the state of Indiana. Always willing to spend time with the fans
and fellow racers the Bloomfield, IN. native enjoys the
conversation as well as encouraging the youngest of fans to
climb aboard his sprint car for a picture or the pure pleasure
he sees in their eyes.
his racing in 1952 with his brother Mike at the old Sullivan,
In. Speedway driving old coupes. Mike later became the owner of
Paragon before succumbed to cancer in 1989. They ran at Carlisle
and Linton in a 1939 Ford Coupe and won one feature that first
year. He also recalls remembering when Ed Sheppard bought the
land to start Paragon Speedway which opened in 1954 at the time
he was a member of the old South Central Indian Racing
Association (SCIRA). Johnny won the last race for stocks ever
run on the Bloomington half-mile track.
been financially hard at times for Johnny but he never gave up
and over the years he has competed at Indiana tracks all around
the area, many which have come and gone over the years. He raced
on tracks like Mitchell, Columbus, Terri Haute, Lawrenceburg,
Haubstadt, Putnamville, and so many others.
For the past
30 years the Johnson family patriarch has loaded up some of the
family and his winged sprint car each February to spend
Speedweeks in Florida participating races at East Bay and
The family has
reached a forth generation of racers and many continue to be
involved in various forms of racing. Some are drivers, or
mechanics and others are pit crew members for these weekend
racers. Johnny has seen three generations on the track racing
together in the same race.
years are gradually taking their toll on Johnny he is timeless
in his desire to be at the track and he still enjoys racing the
way it all began with weekend racers and fans coming together at
dirt tracks throughout Indiana. He is always willing to loan a
spare part just to help someone make it through a night of
racing or pitching in to give a helping hand to a racer who
might have crashed in a heat race.
finished the year in 2008 much as has countless other times at
the Paragon Speedway with a ninth place finish in the points
standings. He is preparing for the 2009 season and plans to keep
driving so long as he is having fun doing it.
2012 brought yet
another photo of Johnny