Paralyzed Michigan Racer Poised to Capitalize in Sophomore Mazda Road to Indy Season
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - It was announced today that American paralyzed racer Michael Johnson would compete in his sophomore season in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2015. The 22-year-old returns to JDC Motorsports for the fourth straight racing season.
"I'm very excited to continue working with JDC Motorsports for the 2015 season in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires," said Johnson. "I have improved so much in winter testing. I have a good feeling about this season!"
The Flint, Michigan native, Johnson, is the first and only paralyzed driver licensed by INDYCAR to compete in the series' developmental ladder program, which prepares drivers for the VERIZON IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. Johnson follows an aggressive physical therapy program and drives a specialty-equipped racecar with hand controls.
"We are super excited to continue our relationship with Michael and his family," said JDC Motorsports Team Owner John Church. "Michael continues to improve his performance each and every time he is in the car and has made huge gains during winter testing. This year should prove to be a great one!"
Johnson completed his rookie season in Pro Mazda in 2014, where he finished 13th of 32 entries as part of his move up to the second step on the "Mazda Road to Indy" ladder. He spent 2012 and 2013 on the first step, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
For his impressive career and athletic determination, Johnson was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame and received the USF2000 Spirit Award in 2012. In mid-2014, Disabled Sports USA awarded him a scholarship to train with members of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team. In December 2014, NASDAQ featured Johnson on the famous NASDAQ Times Square Tower as part of their "Ignite Your Ambition" campaign in New York City.
During the off-season, Johnson has been competing alongside a slew of other racing drivers for a lucrative sponsorship from Federal-Mogul's Champion® Spark Plugs brand, through a national web-based contest. The first phase of the 'Search for a Champion' contest voting is open, to determine the 15 finalists. To vote for Johnson daily through Feb. 3, please visit: http://www.championsparkplugs.com/search-for-a-champion/view/1003
The 2015 Pro Mazda season kicks off on the Streets of St. Petersburg in sunny Florida for a double header on March 28 and 29 as part of an all-inclusive INDYCAR open-wheel racing weekend, which will include the VERIZON IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and USF2000 alongside Pro Mazda.
For more information, please visit www.MichaelJohnsonRacing.com or www.JDCMotorsport.com and keep up to date with Johnson on social media at https://twitter.com/MikeJRacing or at https://www.facebook.com/michaeljohnsonracing.
ABOUT MICHAEL JOHNSON:
Michael Johnson is a 22-year-old Michigan-based autoracing driver, who is the first and only paralyzed racer licensed by INDYCAR to compete in the series' developmental ladder program, which prepares drivers for the VERIZON IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500. Johnson competes in the Pro Mazda Series with JDC Motorsports. At age 12, 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 currently has four rods and 15 screws in his back. In 2009, he had stem cell surgery in Portugal, and currently follows an aggressive physical therapy program. For his impressive career and athletic determination, Johnson was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame and received the USF2000 Spirit Award in 2012. In 2014, Disabled Sports USA awarded him a scholarship to train with members of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team. To race, Johnson uses a throttle lever on the left side of his steering wheel and brakes by pushing forward on the wheel. His story is truly inspiring and has been told by the likes of Road & Track Magazine and FOX News, among many others. For more information, please visit http://www.MichaelJohnsonRacing.com, https://twitter.com/mikejracing, or https://www.facebook.com/michaeljohnsonracing.