This inductee has meant a lot to the racing community since he first became active in racing! He is a successful businessman owning and operating several businesses since 1978. He began with a Water Service business. His business contacts led him to driving a Street Stock racecar and shall we say the rest is history.
You see from the humble beginning of a water boy, just like the movie, this water boy made good. He worked at becoming a very successful businessman, very successful rancher, very successful racer, and a very successful family man. His street stock endeavor led to what we all do in racing, wanting to go faster. From Street Stocks he moved on to the Grand National class and once suffered the heartache of losing a championship on the last night of racing. He competed in the era of the full field Grand National class at both I-35 Speedway and Lakeside Speedway. He and his son were the first in the area to utilize the Hans Device a full three years before any racetrack in this area made it a requirement. He never did win that championship but that was only the fuel to the fire.
This inductee was born competitive, the oldest of three brothers, he once played for the Kansas City Royals farm club. His competitive nature is still with him today, in racing and in business! He wants to win! If it requires a battle to win then a battle he will give, if it requires finesse to win then he will out finesse the competition. He is a leader in his field as numerous people have followed his lead. He has been an elected leader and his actions are followed in the racing community.
He is a perfectionist and a clean freak! For those around him he is anal to a tee! When it comes to dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s he will take it a step further. He has earned honors as a businessman, a father, and a grandfather!
He is a father of racers, having been in competition with his sons, having become a multi car owner in competition at the track and taking his boys to other tracks for competition and the learning experiences. He relates well with bankers, businessmen, sponsors, and racers, striving to be fair with all. He has numerous children in and out of racing that call him Dad. Many a phone call is someone just looking for some Dad advice.
He represents well the Oscar Wilde quote, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Many other tracks have always followed his lead from USRA sanctioning, to utilizing Facebook Live, Race Recaps, and other forms of media, social, print, audio, or otherwise, and to adding the same classes at their tracks that he has already added or helped create. He was instrumental in assisting a young man start a non-wing Sprint Car Series which has become a travelling sanction series. In short order he is a leader in business and a leader in racing.
Racing infected his blood, becoming an all-in person, becoming a racecar driver to becoming a racecar owner, to owning and improving racetracks, he has become a specialist at improvements. You see when racing in this area needed someone to step up, this competitor stepped up, all because he was told not to come back to a racetrack, and he replied to then track management, not a problem he would not be back unless he owned the race track.
After taking the leap into racing he has become an active participant in the sport, not only as a racer, but a leader. After discovering the Central Auto Racing Boosters (C.A.R.B.), he became active in that organization, promoting the sport and promoting the history of the sport as a board of director, a vice president, and as president. He was the leading fund raiser in the process to build a C.A.R.B. museum!
He has taken on the role of Track Owner at two race tracks in the local Kansas City area, improving both facilities immensely. He has become a specialist at improvements. Improving racers, improving equipment, improving his staff, improving racing facilities. You see when racing in this area needed someone to step up, this competitor stepped up.
This racing life began when he started racing but the drive was in him before then. From water boy, he successfully grew several businesses, roofing, home building, to subdivision developer. Eleven years ago, that is exactly what happened, when he purchased his first track, the very track he told them he would not return until he owned it, I-35 Speedway.
When you enter a Mike Johnson owned racetrack you know it immediately! When he was part owner of Lakeside Speedway city officials, surrounding farmers, nearby businesses, and former owners all noticed the cleanliness and organization of the track providing positive comments to this writer. Just look at the improvements he has made at I-35 Speedway, painted bleachers, Trackside Bar and Grill, numerous bill boards, flags, flags, flags, Interstate lighted Billboard with time and temperature, expanded pits, double decker catwalk, picnic area, camping area, better lighting in the pits and on the track, scoreboard, funnel cakes, walking tacos, less rules, 18 and under free, Facebook Live, suite seats, grounds mowed if the grass grows an 1/8 inch, banners everywhere, new roofs, he has built I-35 Speedway into the place to be on Saturday Night. Today, Racingkc.com inducts Mike Johnson, into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.
We honor him for his place in racing, his love for our sport, because without him making the decisions he has made, making the improvements he has made, there might not be any of this, no I-35 Speedway, no Lakeside Speedway, no C.A.R.B. Museum, no banquet, and no I-35 Speedway Hall of Fame. These were all made possible because of one man, whom we have the honor of saying thank you, Mike Johnson.