My Father drag raced when I was little, and my mother often took my sister and I to the track to watch him race. I was only three years old, but I remember how exciting it was to ride around the pits on the floor of his Chevelle at the Drag Races held in Victoria, Texas. My father was in the car business and was very indulgent to my sister and I. He always told me that I could do and be anything I wanted, if I believed I could. He certainly believed I could, as he taught me to drive at a very young age. I decided I was going to be a race car driver. To this, my father said, "You don't know anything about how cars work mechanically, and if you do not understand that part, you can't drive a race car. You have to be able to communicate with the people who work on them". Heeding his advice, I took an auto mechanics class, and learned all about engines, valve jobs, timing, brake jobs, transmissions, chassis, carburetor overhauls, and everything else. My father taught me to speed shift my 1982 4 speed corvette that I drove to high school on the side of the highway on our way to the Alamo Dragway in San Antonio, Texas. There, I entered my first drag race in the street category and won!
I was on my way! My first race car was bought shortly after my first victory: It was a 1969 Chevrolet Nova, called The Tequila Sunrise. I bracket raced that car on the weekends while I was in High School. It ran about 10:20 seconds and 135mph in a quarter of a mile.
When I was a freshman at Texas A&M University, my dad had Don Ness build me a B-Econo dragster. I raced that neat little car until I had an unfortunate accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I broke my neck and had to wear a halo brace for 6 months.
After two years of surgery and recovery, we decided to skip second and third base and headed straight to home plate. My Father did his research and ordered a Top Fuel Dragster from Dave Ueyhara and a truck and trailer from Aerolite, along with all the right parts, pieces, and people. We hit the NHRA National Circuit, and were fortunate to gain a great sponsorship with Jolly Rancher Candies very shortly after beginning. We also had some tremendous associate sponsors that were instrumental in our success: Fram/Autolite, Mr. Gasket Company, Michigan 77, Total Seal, Bell Helmets, Pro Glass, The Wax Shop, VHT, Sig Erson with Erson Camshafts, Mallory Ignition, and, very instrumentally, Torco, which supplied all of our oil from Santa Fe Springs, California.
The next few years held a series of tremendous victories and some disappointing defeats. I feel it is only through the efforts of my family, crew members, and, most importantly, God, that any of it happened at all. I feel truly blessed, and consider all of it a part of my past that made me who I am today. I do not know what tomorrow holds, because it has not happened yet, and yesterday is gone. I live my life for the moment. That is all we really have. I have one little girl, who is the light of my life. I am a widow and it has given me perspective of how we spend our lives. I spend mine peacefully.
May God Bless All Of You
Life is a journey, and I have loved mine. When my time on earth expires, I want my epitaph to read: Shed not for her the bitter tear, Nor give the time to vain regret; 'Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it sparkles yet.
Lori Johns has raced in the following countries and US states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Mexico, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Australia.