Pro Mazda - Michael Johnson

Bryson Schutte M1 Racing
20th
22nd
Bob Kaminsky Kaminsky Racing
Michael Johnson
Michael
Johnson
21st
Michael Johnson
Driver Info
Michael Johnson
Unknown
Biography of Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson, 22, is currently the first and only paralyzed driver who is licensed by INDYCAR to compete in the series' developmental ladder program, which prepares drivers for the VERIZON IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.

In 2005, Johnson went from being an up-and-coming motorcyclist, with 14 national titles to his name, to being paralyzed from the mid-chest area down.

He was only 12 when he was involved in an accident, as he moved into the lead, going into the last lap at a half-mile dirt track, while racing his motorcycle. He broke his collarbone, right ribs, left ankle and left leg. He also fractured the T5 and T6 vertebrae in his back, which caused paralysis. He currently has four rods and 15 screws in his back, after undergoing an 11-hour surgery. In 2009, he had stem cell surgery in Portugal and currently follows an aggressive training program.

Johnson considered the incident a bump in the road, and has continued his mission of being a professional racing driver. Today, he drives his specialty-equipped racecar with hand controls, and turns heads when he rises from his racecar to climb into his other set of wheels – his wheelchair.

If you take anything away from meeting Johnson, or hearing his story, it's that anything is possible. Johnson took the cards life dealt him and is doing things most able-bodied people only dream of.

For his impressive career and athletic determination, Johnson was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame and received the Spirit Award in 2012.

In 2015, Johnson will compete in his second season in the PRO MAZDA series before completing the final step in the Mazda Road to Indy in 2016, in the Indy Lights series. The final two steps will complete Johnson's quest to turn pro, and attempt to qualify for the famed Indianapolis 500 in the following years.

While lining up for the Indianapolis 500 as the first paralyzed driver to compete in the 100-year history of the event will, undoubtedly, make headlines around the world, Johnson isn't a disabled young man in the racecar. He's as motivated and capable as any racing driver to compete, and is determined to prove how deserving he is of success.

Hobbies: Hanging out with friends, watching movies, playing video games, traveling, training at the gym

Racing goal: Race in the Indy 500

Racing hero: Sebastian Vettel

My fitness routine includes: Work out with my trainer two-three days a week and therapy twice a week

Any pre-race rituals or superstitions: Always hope and pray for the best!

The one talent I wish I had: To be super flexible

An interesting note about me: I’m paralyzed from the hips down

2014: Finished 13th in the Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires championship, with a season-best finish of 10th place at St. Petersburg.

2013: Finished 19th in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda… claimed a pair of season-best finishes of 12th at Houston.

2012: Finished 15th in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in his rookie season. Recorded his best finish of 10th at Road America, earning the Tilton Hard Charger Award for advancing 18 positions. Was the recipient of the USF2000 Spirit Award.

2011: Finished third in the Skip Barber Summer Series with three wins, seven podiums and thirteen top-five drives.

2010: Contested select Skip Barber Formula car events.

2009: Competed in the Great Lakes Pro Series posting six first-place finishes in the Rotax class and 12 podium finishes in the Tag and Pro classes.

2008: Competed in the Rotax Junior Class and Yamaha Can Series.

2007: Competed in regional karting events in East Lansing, Mich., claiming the Junior SuperCan Championship title and earning "Driver of the Year".

2002-2005: Pre-injury motorcycle racing history (incurred on August 13, 2005 in a dirt-track motorcycle race at Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia, Ontario ... contested the Kawasaki 65cc and CR85cc classes ... on his 12th birthday, finished third in the Junior Red Riders Supermoto Challenge in Reno, Nevada ... finished ninth in the national Red Riders Challenge Final at Las Vegas ... finished first in the Canadian Supermoto Series 85cc ... NasMoto Series champion (450cc) ... North East Regional national champion in 85cc and 250cc ... won a total of 14 championships by the age of 12.

Year Series Starts Wins Poles** Top 5 Top 10 Laps Led RAF
Total
Year Series Starts Wins Poles** Top 5 Top 10 Laps Led RAF
2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 14 0 0 0 0 0 8
2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 14 0 0 0 1 0 11
Total 28 0 0 0 1 0 19
2015 Pro Mazda 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
2014 Pro Mazda 14 0 0 0 1 0 12
Total 16 0 0 0 1 0 14
* Under INDYCAR sanction RAF = Running at Finish
** Includes all poles, including those awarded based on entrant points
JDC Motorsports

Involved in formula car racing since its inception in 1994, JDC MotorSports has established itself as one of the leading junior open-wheel teams in North America. Initially making its mark in the F2000 class of club racing competition, JDC MotorSports was soon a team worth watching in the pro ranks. Competing in the Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship, the team not only won races, but also helped develop multiple young drivers.

In 2005, JDC MotorSports expanded its efforts, entering the Star Mazda Championship. Quickly becoming one of the top teams in the series, JDC captured both the driver and team titles in 2007, as well as Rookie of the Year honors, with Dane Cameron scoring a series-high three wins. In 2008, JDC MotorSports was the runner-up in the Star Mazda Championship and finished fourth in its inaugural season of F2000 Championship Series competition.

The Minnesota-based team won the Star Mazda Championship title with Rookie of the Year Adam Christodoulou, and the F2000 Championship Series title with Chris Miller in 2009. This past year, JDC continued its winning ways, earning the Rookie of the Year award in the Star Mazda Championship with Connor De Phillippi, and scoring a non-points win in the USF2000 National Championship. The Minneapolis-based squad will compete in the Star Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championship and Prototype Lites Championship in 2011 via multi-car operations.