Herm Johnson

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Herman Austin Johnson (March 4, 1953 – December 10, 2016), was a driver in the CART Indy Car series, born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He raced in seven seasons (1979–1985), with 35[1] career starts. He drove in the Indianapolis 500 in 1982 and 1984. He finished in the top ten eight times, with his best finish in 6th position in 1982 at Atlanta.

In 1976, Johnson won the SCCA National Championship at Road Atlanta and was the 1977 USAC Mini-Indy Champion. Johnson had two serious pit fires in 1981 roughly a month apart from each other. Johnson's father suffered a fatal heart attack, just days before the 1982 Indianapolis 500.[2] Also during this race, Rick Mears bumped into the back of his car on a lap 183 pit stop. For his next race Johnson, who ran a business painting helmets, trimmed the back edge of his rear wing with the message "Rick...if you can read this, you're too close."

Johnson suffered a serious crash in practice for the 1986 Indianapolis 500. Johnson suffered injuries to his back and neck, and the crash effectively ended his Indy car driving career.

Johnson resided in Eau Claire, running a custom painting business, 'Just Herm Designs'. The shop has done work for several Indy 500 winners, IndyCar, and NHRA Champions, as well as amateur racers. The shop specializes in custom paint jobs for helmets, race cars, and motorcycles. Johnson also served as a performance driving instructor[3] at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota.

On December 10, 2016, Johnson died from liver and renal failure.[4]

Racing record[edit]

SCCA National Championship Runoffs[edit]

Year Track Car Engine Class Finish Start Status
1975 Road Atlanta Lola T324 Volkswagen Formula Super Vee 2 2 Running
1976 Road Atlanta Lola T324 Volkswagen Formula Super Vee 1 3 Running

Complete USAC Mini-Indy Series results[edit]

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pos Points
1977 Austin Johnson United States
TRE
16
United States
MIL
2
Canada
MOS
3
United States
PIR
1
1st 500
1978 Austin Johnson United States
PIR1
16
United States
TRE1
5
Canada
MOS
14
United States
MIL1
2
United States
TEX
7
United States
MIL2
5
United States
OMS1
5
United States
OMS2
22
United States
TRE2
3
United States
PIR2
5
4th 773
1979 United States
TEX1
United States
IRP
United States
MIL1
United States
POC
United States
TEX2
United States
MIL2
United States
MIN1
19
United States
MIN2
11
30th 24

Complete CART Indy Car Series results[edit]

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Pos Points
1979 Mergard Racing PHX ATL ATL INDY TRT TRT MIC MIC WGL TRT ONT MIC ATL
7
PHX
13
24th 98
1980 Menard Racing ONT
Ret
INDY
DNQ
MIL
17
POC
11
MDO MIC WGL MIL
11
ONT
13
MIC
13
MXS
Ret
PHX
8
24th 272
1981 PHX MIL
22
ATL
22
MIC
33
RIR
7
MIL
13
MIC WTG
9
MXC
8
PHX
9
17th 38
Cannon Racing ATL
17
1982 PHX
19
ATL
6
MIL
23
CLE
13
MIC
34
MIL
16
POC RIV
22
ROA
17
MIC PHX 26th 24
1983 ATL INDY
DNQ
MIL CLE
16
MIC
24
ROA
DNQ
POC RIV MDO
17
MIC CPL LAG PHX 42nd 0
1984 Menard Racing LBH PHX INDY
8
MIL
18
POR MEA CLE MIC ROA POC 32nd 5
Pace Racing MDO
23
Jet Engineering SAN
DNQ
MIC PHX LAG CPL
1985 Menard Cashway Lumber LBH INDY
DNQ
MIL POR MEA CLE MIC 39th 1
Leader Card Racing ROA
12
POC MDO
24
SAN MIC LAG PHX MIA
1986 Team Menard PHX LBH INDY
DNQ
MIL POR MEA CLE TOR MIC POC MDO SAN MIC ROA LAG PHX MIA NC -

Indianapolis 500 results[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1980 Lightning Offy Failed to Qualify
1981 Lightning Chevrolet Failed to Qualify
1982 Eagle Chevrolet 14th 9th
1983 March Chevrolet Failed to Qualify
1984 March Cosworth 9th 8th
1985 March Cosworth Failed to Qualify
1986 March Cosworth Practice Crash

Notes[edit]