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Former CART racer Herm Johnson dies aged 63 after battle with illness

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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.”

You can view the GoFundMe page by clicking here.

Pippa Mann returns to Dale Coyne Racing for seventh Indianapolis 500 bid

Photo courtesy Dale Coyne Racing
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Pippa Mann announced Tuesday that she plans to drive in her seventh Indianapolis 500 on May 27.

The native of Ipswich, England will once again return to race for Dale Coyne Racing, with new sponsorship by Donate Life Indiana.

She had previously been sponsored the last four years in the 500 by the Susan G. Komen organization. She’ll continue to carry logos of that organization on the front wing of her car in the 500, Mann said.

Mann, 34, has raced six times in the 500, with a best finish being 17th in last year’s race.

Mann will fill out the four-car Dale Coyne Racing field for the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. She’ll be teammates with Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda in a partnership with Vasser-Sullivan), Pietro Fittipaldi (No. 19 The Paysafe Car Honda) and Conor Daly (No. 17 U.S. Air Force Honda in a partnership with Thom Burns Racing).

Mann will make her first practice laps for this year’s 500 on Tuesday, May 15. Qualifying is May 19-20.

Mann’s No. 63 Honda will have a significantly different look than in the last few years. Instead of pink, her car will feature a silvery blue and light green paint scheme wrapped around a Donate Life Indiana logo.

“I am honored to have been asked to drive the Donate Life car this May and to partner with Donate Life Indiana as an ambassador to raise awareness on our mission to help reach even more Hoosiers through our education efforts,” Mann said in a media release. “This is obviously a campaign with a pretty deep personal meaning for me, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to join the racers carrying this cause forward.

“I also want to thank Dale and Gail Coyne for once again giving me this opportunity to pilot one of their entries this May. This will be my sixth year with Dale Coyne Racing and I’m truly grateful that they allow me to do this every year.”

Mann will also serve as a spokesperson for the organization and to raise awareness for youth education initiatives in Indiana, most notably organ, tissue and eye donor registration.

In addition to her driving duties in the 102nd running of the 500, Mann will also visit schools across the Hoosier State to speak about the importance of organ donation and transplantation.

“Our education team is committed to partnering with Pippa and students and teachers across the state to bring the message of organ donation and transplantation to as many students as possible,” said Steve Johnson, board chairman for Donate Life Indiana.

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