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Hall of Fame Driver “Jumpin’” Jack Johnson Passes
Provided by Buffy Swanson

Photo by Bob Yurko

Weedsport, NY (April 1, 2021) – The Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame joins the racing world in mourning the death and celebrating the incredible career of “Jumpin'" Jack Johnson, one of DIRTcar’s all-time great heroes, who passed away after a long and courageous battle with ALS on April 1, at the age of 76.

Johnson, from Duanesburg, NY, was inducted into the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame in 2012.

Emulating his father Rollie, Jack began racing Modifieds in 1966 at the track he would call home for his entire career — Fonda Speedway, where he was an 11-time champion, a perennial fan favorite, and the all-time winningest driver.

In a career spanning 43 years, Johnson won 428 times at 35 different tracks in 10 states and two Canadian provinces. As good as he was in the short sprints, Jack was outstanding in the extra-distance races, winning prestige 200-lap events at Flemington (NJ), Lebanon Valley (NY), Orange County Fair (NY), Rolling Wheels (NY), Weedsport (NY), Susquehanna (PA), Devil’s Bowl (VT) and Fonda (NY).

But his greatest achievements came on the mile dirt tracks. In 1979, Jack was the first New Yorker to win a Super DIRT Week main event at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse. He repeated that career-making feat in 1984. In Pennsylvania, Johnson had three wins on the Nazareth National mile and was the track’s 1983 champion.

In the 1980s, Jack drove his iconic orange #12A to six Mr. DIRT Modified series titles, in addition to Winter Tour point championships in both Florida and Texas.


Color photos:  Top photo by Carl Becker.  2nd from top photo Rich Young.  Bottom 4 photos from Ace Lane Jr.

Highly respected by his fellow competitors and beloved by a legion of fans throughout his life, Johnson took his final checkered flag in 2009 at Sharon Speedway in Ohio, before a hard crash at Fonda ended his career. In addition to his induction in the Northeast Dirt Modified Hall of Fame, Jack was also honored by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association and New York State Stock Car Association in 2012.

Following in the footsteps of the father he idolized, Ronnie Johnson became part of Fonda Speedway history in 2011, winning his first Modified title at the "Track of Champions."

A winner where ever he went... We send our condolences to the family, friends and many, many fans of Jack Johnson.

Modified/Sprint Car Racer Scott Pursell Passes

Photographer unknown/provided by Frank Eckhoudt.

Photographer/Provided by Ace Lane Jr,

Photographer/Provided by Ace Lane Jr,

2/23/21:  Sad news has reached us on the passing of Scott Pursell. 

A very exciting driver, Scott's racing resume will show that he was a two time Sportsman Champion at Flemington Speedway in the 80's, a Small Block Championship at Nazareth, and then went on to win back to back championships at the East Windsor Speedway in the early 90's. 

When Scott decided to go sprint car racing, his winning ways continued as he became a multiple feature event winner with URC. 

A true racing talent that we have lost way too soon.

We send our condolences to the family and friends of Scott Pursell.

Obituary and services information:


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