Former CART racer Herm Johnson dies aged 63 after battle with illness
Former CART racer and two-time Indianapolis 500 starter Herm Johnson has died following a battle with illness, his family has confirmed.
Johnson raced in CART between 1979 and 1986, making 35 starts and recording a best finish of sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1982.
Johnson enjoyed success in his junior career, winning the SCCA National Championship Runoff in the Super Vee class in 1976 before following it up with USAC Mini-Indy Series in 1977.
The native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin twice qualified for the Indianapolis 500, starting the 1984 race ninth and finishing eighth in a March-Cosworth.
Johnson introduced Eau Claire businessman John Menard to Indy car racing, starting an involvement in the series that continues to this day through sponsorship on Simon Pagenaud’s Team Penske car.
Johnson made his final Indy car appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1986 when he crashed heavily during practice, sustaining severe injuries to his feet, legs and back.
After retiring from racing, Johnson became an instructor at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota, as well as designing helmets for racing drivers.
Johnson had been battling illness recently, suffering from liver failure as per sources, with his family setting up a GoFundMe page to help cover his healthcare costs.
On Saturday, page admin R. Cary Capparelli wrote: “Herm took the checkered flag at approximately 9:30 this morning. RIP Herm.”