View Full Version : Cal Johnson passed away 11-27-2007

11-30-2007, 09:23 AM
Thomas Calvin Johnson, whose prominent career in the area racing circuit spanned four decades, died Tuesday. He was 86.
Born Aug. 31, 1921, "Cal" Johnson broke onto the scene in the fall of 1949, when he was offered $25 to race in a five-car exhibition. Mr. Johnson won that race, and his career took off.
Joe Kelly, a former racer and an authority on area racing, recalled meeting Mr. Johnson on March 18, 1950 at the Hank Stanley Memorial Race at Strawberry Hill (current site of Richmond International Raceway). Mr. Johnson drove a modified 1939 Ford Coupe.
By 1953, Mr. Johnson was the champion at Royal Speedway (now Southside Speedway).
Mr. Johnson won 106 Modified races, Kelly said, and his knowledge of a race car's setup played no small role in his success.
"He was so smart," Kelly said. "When everyone else was looking at horsepower, he was looking at the brakes. . . . how to make sure he could get in the turn at the bottom."
Mr. Johnson's racing interest also included go-karts, and he went on to become a three-time world champion in the 1960s.
In 1972, Mr. Johnson won the track championship at what is now Virginia Motor Speedway. "You run what you brung," Kelly said of the track's automobile specifications at the time.
Mr. Johnson's know-how was instrumental in him besting more tricked-up cars in his modified '32 Plymouth.
Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Jane, and sons Tommy (wife Charlotte), Ricky, Fred (wife Patty) and Eddie (wife Penny) and a daughter, Cathy Johnson Forsythe (husband Robbie), and stepson Mike Sharp. Eddie Johnson is a former track champion at Southside, Old Dominion and Langley speedways.
Mr. Johnson also had a combined 15 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Two grandchildren also are prominent in racing: Christopher Johnson was this year's Modified Division rookie of the year at Southside, and Lee Johnson was the Virginia State Go-Kart champion.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Nelson Funeral Home at 412 S. Washington Highway in Ashland. Visitation is Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral is Saturday at 2 p.m. with burial to follow at Woodland Cemetery in Ashland.
Memorial donations may be made to: Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, N.C., 27317.

12-01-2007, 01:10 AM
Cal Johnson raced in (2) of NASCAR's 1951 Grand National races. :cheers:

#1. Race: Grand National race number 30 of 41, September 30, 1951 at Wilson Speedway, Wilson, NC., 200 laps on a .500 mile dirt track (100.0 miles)
Started: N/A (need information on this) :help:
Finished: 7th :)
Sponsor / Owner / Car #: N/A (need information on this) :help:
Race Car Make: 51' Henry J ;) :) :cheers:

#2. Race: Grand National race number 34 of 41, October 14, 1951 at Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, VA. 200 laps on a .500 mile dirt track (100.0 miles)
Started: 19th :rolleyes:
Finished: 10th :)
Sponsor / Owner / Car #: N/A (need information on this) :help:
Race Car Make: 51' Henry J ;) :) :cheers: