SPOTLIGHT ON SPEED: RICK JOHNSON
Like a lot of racers Wamego drag racer Rick Johnson started as a fan until he found that he couldn't stay in the stands any more.
"I've been racing about five years,'' said Johnson, who competes in the Pro division in Heartland Park's E.T. Bracket Racing Series. “I just went to watch and eventually just decided I had to do something like this. I'd wanted to do it for a long time but just didn't think I could afford to do it.''
Johnson is one of a sizeable group of racers that hails from Wamego.
“I knew some people in Wamego that had raced for quite a while and not that they talked me into it one way or another but they gave me a lot of guidance,'' Johnson said.
And once Johnson got out on the track, drag racing was everything he thought it could be.
"And then some,'' he said. “You start running 130-40 mile an hour it's pretty exciting.''
Johnson, who operates an insulation and guttering business in Wamego, has also found that he'd much rather be at the race track on weekends than working.
"That way I don't have to work all weekend, that's the best thing about it,'' Johnson joked. "It just makes it a lot of fun.''
In addition to running in HPT's E.T. Bracket Racing Series Johnson attempted to make the Pinks All Out field last year at Topeka and did make it to the top 16 at Bandimere (Colo.) Speedway.
He's still looking for his first victory in his current car, a 1962 Chevy II, but is happy with the way it’s performing.
"I've gone pretty far in and I actually did win with another car about five years ago,'' Johnson said.
"I bought (the Chevy II) a couple of years ago. I sold my other car, decided I wanted something different. I went to Louisiana and bought this one, did some changes to it and it's a tough car now. I've got it where I want it.''