Paralyzed driver Michael Johnson returning to track in Pro Mazda


After four months of rehab for fractures suffered to his hip and pelvis in the first practice session of the Pro Mazda season, paralyzed driver Michael Johnson will make his 2015 debut this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Johnson, who has been paralyzed from the mid-chest down since 2005 and is the only paralyzed driver licensed by INDYCAR, returns to the No. 54 Universal Coating car for JDC Motorsports.

The 22 year-old Flint, Mich., native completed 88 laps of practice at Mid-Ohio in June during a Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires test at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course.

“After testing at Mid-Ohio in June, I feel more prepared to get back to racing at this track again,” said Johnson in a press release. “Each time I get back in a car, the less and less my nerves are.”

“The last session of the test showed that I was competitive, that I’m in the ballpark, and that I’m officially back.”

Johnson started his career as a motorcyclist and has four rods and 15 screws in his back from an 11-hour surgery when he was 12. He began competing in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system in 2012. This season would have been his second full season in Pro Mazda.

In 2014, Johnson finished 13th in his rookie season with a season-best finish of 10th place at St. Petersburg.

Johnson will also compete in the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.