Johnson crashed on the 18th lap of a 40-lap race as he was battling Daryn Pittman for the lead after a restart on the 1/3-mile long dirt oval, according to World of Outlaws. Johnson’s car climbed the wall in the third turn, flipped and crashed through a billboard, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was taken to a hospital, then airlifted to Aurora Medical Center, where he died. Johnson, who is from Eunice, La., is survived by his wife, Bobbi, and 5-year-old son, Jaxx.
“We are heartbroken and saddened to tell you that we have lost our leader, friend, family member and our hero,” Jason Johnson Racing announced.
The news of Johnson’s death cut a wide swath in auto racing. “When a racer loses his life, the world of motorsports across all disciplines takes notice and pays its respects,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “My heart goes out to Jason, his family, his friends, his competitors and his fans.”
Brad Keselowski echoed that.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. noted that Johnson “went about things his own way and was really fun to watch.”
A tweet from Tony Stewart Racing noted that “our hearts are broken.”
Johnson is the second driver in four years to die from injuries sustained in a sprint-car crash at the track, according to the Journal Sentinel. Scott Semmelmann, 47, of Brookfield, Wis., was killed in an accident in practice at an Interstate Racing Association event in September 2014.
Johnson, Outlaws rookie of the year in 2015, won the Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals, the biggest race of the year for winged sprint cars, the following year.
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