Dick Johnson (racing driver)

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Dick Johnson
Dickjohnson.jpg
Nationality Australian
Born (1945-04-26) 26 April 1945 (age 69)
Retired 2000
Related to Steven Johnson (son)
Australian Touring Car Championship
Years active 1970–2000
Teams Bryan Byrt Racing
Dick Johnson Racing
Starts 202
Wins 22
Best finish 1st in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1988 & 1989 Australian Touring Car Championship
Previous series
1982–91
1989–90
1990
Australian Endurance Championship
NASCAR Australia
NASCAR Winston Cup
Championship titles
1981
1981
1982
1984
1988
1989
1989
1994
1994
1995
1995
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Bathurst 1000
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Australian Touring Car Champ.
Bathurst 1000
Sandown 500
Bathurst 1000
Eastern Creek 12 Hour
Sandown 500
Awards
2001 V8 Supercar Hall of Fame

Richard "Dick" Johnson (born 26 April 1945 in Queensland, Australia) is the owner of the V8 Supercar team Dick Johnson Racing and a former racing driver. As a driver, he was a five-time Australian Touring Car Champion and a three-time winner of the Bathurst 1000. As of 2008 Johnson has claimed over twenty awards and honors,[citation needed] including the V8 Supercar Hall of Fame into which he was inducted in 2001.

Early life[edit]

As a teen Johnson attended Cavendish Road State High School in Brisbane, Australia and it was in this area of Coorparoo that he first started driving with his father as a young child. Cavendish Road State High School has named one of their school houses Johnson, in his honour. The house colour is blue.

Racing[edit]

Dick Johnson in the Holden EH at Lakeside in November 1969

Despite becoming synonymous with driving Fords, Johnson raced in his early days in a succession of Holdens. Johnson's first race car was a Holden FJ, his first race being at Lakeside International Raceway in November 1964 In 1968 and 1969 he raced his Holden EH and from there progressed to a Holden Torana GTR for 1970, scoring his first Australian Touring Car Championship points at Lakeside in that year. The GTR was upgraded to XU-1 specifications in 1971. Johnson's first drive in the Hardie Ferodo 1000 was in Bob Forbes' Torana GTR XU-1 in 1973 when they placed fifth, and in 1974 he purchased an ex-Holden Dealer Team Torana which he campaigned until the switch to Ford in 1976.[1]

1981 Tru-Blu Ford Falcon

In 1980, during the Bathurst 1000 he started 2nd and led for the first 17 laps before his car was destroyed after hitting a football sized rock that had been accidentally kicked onto the track by some drunken fans. The resulting public support where people from around Australia rang their local Channel 7 television station (the race broadcaster) and pledged money to help the team get back on its feet. Eventually the sum of A$72,000 was donated to help rebuild the car. Led by its CEO Edsel Ford II who saw the value of the goodwill in the press surrounding Johnson's crash, the Ford Motor Company of Australia provided a new car shell and promised to match the donation dollar for dollar, resulting in the team receiving $144,000 to help get back into racing.

Johnson's close friend Ross Palmer, the owner of Palmer Tube Mills of Brisbane, became his primary sponsor in 1981 (with Bryan Byrt Ford also still a major sponsor), and with the donated money allowed him to return the next year to win both the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) and the Bathurst 1000 (with John French). He won the ATCC again in 1982 (the Tru Blu XD Falcon), 1984 (Greens Tuff XE Falcon), 1988 (Ford Sierra RS500) and 1989 (Sierra RS500). He also won Bathurst in 1989 (in a Ford Sierra with John Bowe) and 1994 (in an EB Falcon, also with Bowe). The names Tru Blu, and Greens Tuff, as well as Red Roo (seen in late 1982 only) were product names of Palmer Tube Mills.

With much larger budgets required in the racing industry, Ross Palmer helped negotiate for Shell to be the teams primary sponsor from 1987. The larger budget allowed the team to expand from just one car for Dick, to a second Ford Sierra RS Cosworth for his then team mate Gregg Hansford.

NASCAR[edit]

In 1989 and 1990, prompted by Palmer Tube Mills who assisted him in receiving multiple sources of sponsorship and through the company's American offshoot Redkote, Johnson made a brief foray into the NASCAR Winston Cup driving a Ford Thunderbird, entering a total of seven races with a best start of 11th at Sears Point Raceway in his first race, and a best finish of 22nd at Pocono Raceway.[2] Johnson also drove a Thunderbird in the first NASCAR race held in Australia, the 1988 Goodyear NASCAR 500 at the Calder Park Thunderdome in Melbourne. Unfortunately for Johnson he was involved in an early race crash which put him out of the event.

Retirement[edit]

Dick Johnson retired from racing at the end of the 1999 season, though he remains in charge of DJR. His son Steven took over driving Johnson's famous Number 17 for over a decade.[3] Johnson has twice written his autobiography as well as contributing to a third biography.[1][4][5]

Racecam[edit]

Johnson's laconic nature and quick wit was put to good use by long time Bathurst 1000 TV broadcaster Channel 7 when they first put one of their racecam units in his Tru-Blu Ford Falcon for the 1982 James Hardie 1000. Johnson and co-driver John French were also wired for sound so the commentary team could talk to the drivers while racing around the track. From then on Johnson's cars were rarely without a TV camera sitting where the passenger seat usually was, especially when Seven was televising the race. His laconic commentary and seemingly endless list of one-liners quickly became a favourite with Australian race fans, even those who normally followed Holden drivers such as Peter Brock and Allan Grice, both of whom also became exponents of using racecam.

Some of Johnson's quotes while on racecam were:

  • "I've got one black BMW in front of me, one behind me. Frank Gardner and his All Blacks" - 1985 ATCC, Round 5 at the Adelaide International Raceway while he was sandwiched between the black JPS Team BMW's of New Zealanders Jim Richards and Neville Crichton
  • "The old Volvo must have its truck suspension in" - 1986 ATCC, Round 4 at Adelaide International. Ironically Robbie Francevic's Volvo emerged as the race winner.
  • "This race is like the Irishman who won the Tour de France I tell ya. He had to go on a lap of honour" - 1986 James Hardie 1000
  • "This is where I lose so much time. I mean, this part of the track is just so boring" - 1986 Bathurst referring to his V8 Ford Mustang's lack of grunt compared to his competitors on the run up Mountain Straight.
  • "Its missing and carrying on like an old sheila" - 1988 ATCC, Grand Finale at Oran Park Raceway after turbo boost problems with his championship winning Ford Sierra RS500 saw him relinquish the lead mid-race to team mate John Bowe. With the opposition nowhere in sight, Bowe later slowed enough to allow Dick to win the race and followed him across the line in a 1-2 form finish.
  • "Winton? Its like running a marathon around your clothesline" - 1990 ATCC, Round 4 at Winton after Channel 7 commentator Mike Raymond asked him what the definition of Winton was.
  • "Then Brock got past me would you believe, unfortunately, and that thing of his like, I nearly choked to death on Mobil 1. It looks like the last train to Bernie Grove" - 1990 ATCC, Grand Finale at Oran Park after problems with the Sierra saw him drop out of race winning and championship contention. He was referring to the Peter Brock Sierra's habit of belching black oil smoke out of its exhaust whenever he lifted off the accelerator.
  • "The Sierra on one cylinder has got as much grunt as the Commodore" - 1991 ATCC, Round 5 at Winton after his misfiring Sierra had been passed by the V8 Holden Commodore of Larry Perkins.
  • "You've got to be joking" - 1995 ATCC, Round 3 at Bathurst. Channel 7 had just crossed to Johnson with Mike Raymond asking "Are you lonely?". Johnson's quote came immediately after as he spun his Ford EF Falcon into Caltex Chase, seemingly distracted by Raymond's interruption. However, as the TV camera's soon picked up, the rear wing of the Falcon had collapsed at over 280 km/h (174 mph) as he was turning into the fastest corner on any Australian race circuit, at the same moment that Seven crossed to talk to him.[6]

Career results[edit]

Season Series Position Car Team
1970 Australian Touring Car Championship 16th Holden LC Torana GTR
1971 Australian Touring Car Championship 13th Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1
1972 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Dick Johnson [7]
1973 Australian Touring Car Championship 42nd Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
1974 Australian Touring Car Championship 13th Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
1975 Australian Touring Car Championship 23rd Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
1976 Australian Touring Car Championship 28th Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
1977 Australian Touring Car Championship 22nd Ford XB Falcon GT Bryan Byrt Ford
1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship 10th Ford XB Falcon GT Dick Johnson
1978 Australian Touring Car Championship 10th Ford XC Falcon GS500 Bryan Byrt Ford
1979 Australian Touring Car Championship 29th Ford XC Falcon Cobra Bryan Byrt Ford
1981 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Ford XD Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1982 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Ford XD Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1982 Australian Endurance Championship 6th Ford XE Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1983 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Ford XE Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1984 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Ford XE Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1985 Australian Touring Car Championship 2nd Ford Mustang Palmer Tube Mills
1985 Australian Endurance Championship 8th Ford Mustang Palmer Tube Mills
1986 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Ford Mustang Palmer Tube Mills
1986 Australian Endurance Championship 14th Ford Mustang Palmer Tube Mills
1987 Australian Touring Car Championship 6th Ford Sierra RS Cosworth Shell Ultra Hi-Tech Racing Team
1988 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing
1989 Australian Touring Car Championship 1st Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing
1989 NASCAR Winston Cup Series 47th Ford Thunderbird Dick Johnson Racing
1990 Australian Touring Car Championship 4th Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing
1990 NASCAR Winston Cup Series 63rd Ford Thunderbird Dick Johnson Racing
1991 Australian Touring Car Championship 8th Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing
1992 Australian Touring Car Championship 8th Ford Sierra RS500 Shell Ultra Hi Racing
1993 Australian Touring Car Championship 5th Ford EB Falcon Shell Racing
1994 Australian Touring Car Championship 8th Ford EB Falcon Shell FAI Racing
1995 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Ford EF Falcon Shell FAI Racing
1996 Australian Touring Car Championship 10th Ford EF Falcon Shell FAI Racing
1996 Mobil New Zealand Sprints 5th Ford EF Falcon Shell FAI Racing
1997 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Ford EL Falcon Shell Helix Racing
1998 Australian Touring Car Championship 10th Ford EL Falcon Shell Helix Racing
1999 V8 Supercar Championship Series 10th Ford AU Falcon Shell Helix Racing

Bathurst 1000 wins[edit]

Year Pos Class No Team Co-Drivers Chassis Laps
Engine
Group C
1981 1 8 Cylinder & Over 17 Australia Palmer Tube Mills Australia John French Ford XD Falcon 120
Ford 351 5.8 L V8
Group A
1989 1 1 17 Australia Shell Ultra Hi Racing Australia John Bowe Ford Sierra RS500 161
Ford Cosworth YBD 2.0 L I4 Turbo
Group 3A Touring Cars
1994 1 A 17 Australia Shell-FAI Racing Australia John Bowe Ford EB Falcon 161
Ford 302 5.0 L V8

Complete World Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1987 Shell Ultra Hi-Tech Racing Team Ford Sierra RS500 MNZ JAR DIJ NUR SPA BNO SIL BAT
Ret
CLD
13
WEL
Ret
FJI NC 0

Complete European Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 DC Points
1988 Redkote Racing Ford Sierra RS500 MNZ DON EST JAR DIJ VAL NUR SPA ZOL SIL
21
NOG NC 0

Complete Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Team Car 1 2 3 4 DC Points
1988 Shell Ultra Hi Racing Ford Sierra RS500 BAT
2
WEL
Ret
PUK FJI NC 0

Complete NASCAR Winston Cup Series results[edit]

Year Team Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 NWCC Points
1989 Dick Johnson Racing Ford 38 DAY ROC ATL RCH DAR BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT DOV SPR
32
POC MCH DAY POC
22
TAL
24
GLN
32
MIC
DNQ
BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR CLT NWS ROC PHX ATL 47th 322
1990 DAY RCH ROC ATL DAR
34
BRI NWS MAR TAL CLT
DNQ
DOV SON POC MCH DAY POC
39
TAL GLN
27
MIC BRI DAR RCH DOV MAR NWS CLT ROC PHX ATL 63rd 189

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Johnson, Dick (2000). Don't Tell Me I Can't Do That. Pan Macmillan. pp. 243 pages. ISBN 9780732910464. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Dick Johnson". Nascar. Retrieved 2006-07-15. 
  3. ^ "Steven Johnson Out of Driver's Seat at DJR". speedcafe.com. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Dick (2013). "Dick Johnson: The autobiography of a true-blue Aussie sporting legend". Random House. pp. 432 pages. ISBN 9781742759777. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Tuckey, Bill (1984). The Unforgiving Minute. Dick Johnson: The Real story of a Folk Hero. Berghouse Floyd Tuckey. pp. 160 pages. ISBN 9780959037807. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Dick Johnson rear wing snap - 1995 ATCC Bathurst
  7. ^ Results, Australian Touring Car Championship Rd. 8, Racing Car News Championship Yearbook No. 1, (1972), page 71

External links[edit]


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Peter Brock
Jim Richards
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1981
(with John French)
Succeeded by
Peter Brock
Larry Perkins
Preceded by
Peter Brock
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1981 & 1982
Succeeded by
Allan Moffat
Preceded by
Allan Moffat
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1984
Succeeded by
Jim Richards
Preceded by
Jim Richards
Winner of the Australian Touring Car Championship
1988 & 1989
Succeeded by
Jim Richards
Preceded by
Tony Longhurst
Tomas Mezera
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1989
(with John Bowe)
Succeeded by
Allan Grice
Win Percy
Preceded by
Larry Perkins
Gregg Hansford
Winner of the Bathurst 1000
1994
(with John Bowe)
Succeeded by
Larry Perkins
Russell Ingall