One of the real veterans of dirt-track Modified stock-car racing and a man who is quite modest about his considerable accomplishments, Jack Johnson of Duanesburg, New York, could always be counted upon to do his very best each time out. And right through until his last race in 2009 the full-time professional racer and speed shop owner was still a formidable competitor on the race track in his signature orange No. 12a.
A highy-respected and popular driver, Johnson got his interest in racing from his father Rollie Johnson who raced Sprint Cars. He then started racing Go-Karts when he was 13 years old and began his impressive Modified career in 1966 after he got out of the United States Army at one of the most famous tracks in the East – the half-mile dirt Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway.
“Jumpin’ Jack” scored his first Modified victory at Fonda in 1971 and used the low-line around the famed track by the Mohawk River to win an all-time standard of 149 races.
He also won a record of 11 Fonda Modified titles (1975, 1980-1982, 1984-1885, 1988 & 1993-1996) and while he had a lock on being named the “Most Modified Popular Driver” at “The Track of Champions” he was honored in 2010 as “Fonda’s Overall Most Popular Driver.”
From the time that Johnson was 27 years old in 1971 all the former body shop worker did to make a living was race and his efforts on the one-mile New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse were equally impressive.
On the “Moody Mile” his eight wins there include Super DIRT Week’s 1979 and 1984 main events. And his 1984 triumph made him the only driver to ever win all of the NYSF races in one year as he also won races on July 4th and Labor Day, plus Super DIRT Week’s special Winner’s Classic.
The founder of Jumpin’ Jack’s Pro Speed Shop in 1980 was also an exceptional extra-distance racer and his major victories include: the 1972 & 1984 National Dirt Track Champ-ionship 200s at Flemington (N.J.) Fair Speedway; the 1985 Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York; two (1976 & 1979) National Quarter-Mile Dirt Track Championship Southern Tier 100s at Five Mile Point Speedway in Kirkwood, New York; three (1982 & 1993-1994) Lebanon Valley (N.Y.) Speedway 200s; three (1993 & 1995-1996) 200s at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, New York; the 1988 Fonda 200; the 1988 Cayuga County 200 at Cayuga County Fair Speedway in Weedsport, New York; the 1997 Small-Block Modified 200 at Susquehanna Speedway in Newberrytown, Pennsylvania; and, the United Speedways of North American 200 at Susquehanna in 2000.
He also had four wins on the old one-mile dirt Nazareth (Pa.) National Motor Speedway and he was the track’s 1983 champion.