Petaluma has become a popular place for the sport of racing. For some Petalumans it is a family tradition. This year we interviewed Chase Johnson who is a 4th generation race car driver in Johnson Chases For Checkered Flag: An interview with Petaluma’s Chase Johnson. 16 year-old Zack Anderson recently won the San Francisco Regional Super Touring U Championship (see Press Democrat article, Petaluma teen racer fast, calm on track) just last month. Whether you prefer two or four wheels our city is a playground for those who desire to go really fast for fun, as an amateur racer, or even go pro with Motopia motocross park, Petaluma Speedway, and Sonoma Raceway in our territory. For others it can be a major step into the business of racing like TGR – Aston Martin Racing.
When you think of racing you also think that it’s a sport dominated by men. However you may remember our interview with Shelina Moreda, Herding cows on motorcycles to pro racing internationally: An interview with Shelina Moreda which led the televised interview by KTVU’s Ken Wayne in their report Petaluma Bay Area Woman Set to Make Racing History.
Chase Johnson from Petaluma is a 4th generation race car driver. He started his racing career at the early age of 5 and won six championships racing Outlaw Karts. Today, thirteen years later, he has 150 feature main event wins and 7 championships. Today he competes in high level sprint car racing and in 2012 was crowned Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Champion at Petaluma Speedway. A 2013 graduate of Petaluma High School, his peers named him “Most Likely to Go Pro” in Student Standouts section of his senior yearbook. However his racing and life came to an abrupt halt on the night of March 16, 2013 during a practice session when his sprint car’s steering wheel malfunctioned causing him to lose control of his vehicle. This terrible accident resulted in the death of his fourteen year old cousin, who also raced and was like a brother to him, and a 68 year old car owner who loved being at the track. In this interview you will learn about how Chase is doing today and how he has a changed view as a person and a competitor. Just this weekend Johnson charged to his first Podium of the Season at Petaluma Speedway placing third in the featured race.
Wayne: How does it feel to start your season off with two straight top 5’s?
Chase: It feels great, it has just pushed me even harder to improve and get closer to a win.
Wayne: Your car number is 24 – is there any significance to that number?
Chase: Yes I chose that number because I looked up to Jeff Gordon. He drove the number 24 when I was growing up and still is today in NASCAR. I look up to Jeff for many of reasons but the major one was that his career path was a lot similar to mine today. He started racing quarter midgets young in California and progressed into sprint cars and midgets which then took him to the stock car world to be a NASCAR driver. My path was I started running Outlaw Karts at age 5, then moved into the Sprint Car at age 14.
Last Saturday Chase Johnson of #Petaluma scored his first top five at the Petaluma Speedway even after overcoming mechanical problems. This was the first time he raced his family car this season. Click here for full article.