A member of the Sports Car Club of America® since 1966, Kansas City Region member Bill Johnson did anything but sit still. A list of his accomplishments and accolades within the Club reads like three lifetimes’ worth of work, but for Johnson, it was just him doing what he loved. From those he knew directly to members who never met him but benefited from his work, Johnson’s dedication to the sport was felt by many – now, with the news of his passing during the second weekend of November, he will be missed by all.
Johnson’s first race car (not counting the Soap Box Derby car he drove to a win in 1947) was a Formula Vee he purchased in 1965 for $1,613 – that led to his joining the SCCA and subsequently winning his Region’s Rookie Driver of the Year Award in 1966. In 1972, he was presented with the Midwest Division Governor’s Cup Award; then in 1984, he received the Midwest Division’s England-Stipe Award and SCCA’s Vick Sadler Award. He was presented with the Woolf Barnato Award (then called the Carl Haas Award) in 1996, received the David Morrell Memorial Award for stewarding in 2004, and was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2009.
These awards were recognition for a level of involvement that was truly inspirational. In 1968 – barely two years after joining the SCCA – Johnson volunteered to lead Kansas City Region. By 1973, he was elected Chairman of the Midwest Division’s Executive Committee. Johnson was then elected to SCCA’s National Board of Governors (now called the Board of Directors) in 1975, serving as the Board’s Chairman from 1977-’78. Four years later in 1982, he created, founded, and managed SCCA’s ProSolo Series. In fact, ProSolo’s Johnson-Clark Johnson Cup gets a portion of its name from Bill.
As evidenced by his winning the David Morrell Memorial Award, Johnson was an active steward, becoming a Divisional executive steward in 1998. He was then appointed as chairman to SCCA’s National Stewards Committee in 2002 and was appointed as the chairman to the SCCA Pro Racing Appeals Court in 2012.
During the 2009 SCCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony, it was said of Johnson that “he is a man of many abilities, and he has used them all for the benefit of SCCA. He is a visionary, and his role in the creation of the original ProSolo format proves that. He is an able manager, and his role as race chief steward and Divisional executive steward overseeing countless races gives evidence of that, as does his receipt of the Dave Morrell Award. He is a leader, as witnessed by the years that he served upon, and chaired, the SCCA Board of Directors, for which he was honored with the Woolf Barnato Award. He is tenacious and talented, which has never been more evident than when he led the stewards program through a massive reorganization during his tenure as chairman of the stewards program. Any one of these accomplishments would have made Johnson a strong candidate for the SCCA Hall of Fame. Given that he accomplished them all during his years in the club, his induction has long been a certainty.”
Without a doubt, Johnson’s many contributions have made the Club a better place.