Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Team USA Nominee: Michael Johnson

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm Team USA Scholarship

Michael Johnson

2011 Team USA Scholarship Nominee

Michael Johnson, 18, — Flint, Mich.

Current Season: Johnson — who was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle crash — is currently racing in the Skip Barber regional and national series utilizing hand controls. Additionally, he spends his weekend at the kart track competing in the Great Lakes Pro Series. In the Skip Barber Winter Series, Johnson had three top-five finishes in four races, logging a best finish of third at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His winter program really helped him adapt to the nuances of the Skip Barber car and the hand controls required for him to tour the track. His growth and comfort level inside the cockpit has become increasingly evident with each and every race in the 2011 Skip Barber Summer Series. He has two wins, one pole position and four podium finishes in six starts. Pretty impressive.

Previous Experience:

  • Karting
  • Motorcycle racing
  • Star Mazda test
  • Skip Barber Regional

Why he would be a good selection for the Team USA Scholarship: Johnson was an extremely talented motorcycle racer who suffered a severe crash in August 2005 while making a pass for the lead at Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia, Ontario. The incident left Johnson, who was only 12-years-old at the time, paralyzed from the waist down. Since that time, he has been devoted to making a comeback in motorsports via karting and car racing with hand controls. His story is truly incredible and his drive/devotion to self improvement indicates exactly why he’d be a good choice for the Team USA Scholarship. He boasts an incredible work-ethic and has proven that his injury won’t slow him down. Watch for great things from Johnson as he continually adapts to his hand controls and car racing. You can watch a short film on his website here, where he explains exactly how he uses his controls with finesse to extract every ounce of speed from his car.

Related Reading: Team USA Scholarship: 2011 Nominees



  1. Johnny Cooper on September 1, 2011 6:19 am

    Michael, Has such a GREAT story and such a passion for racing. I am GLAD to see him pursuing the OPEN wheeled racing circuits. ON To the BIG leagues..


  2. Leonard Warren on September 1, 2011 9:27 am

    Michael is doing an incredible job and is an enormous encouragement to all. There is no doubt he would be an asset to the Team USA program.

  3. Ted McGregor on September 2, 2011 10:17 am

    Michael is an example of the American spirit that makes this country what is has been and can still be.
    His exceptional talent can not be dampened even after his misfortune.
    We will see him at the Indy 500 with out a doubt.

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