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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.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.