CHAMPCAR/CART: PKV Racing hires Mark Johnson as GM

PKV RACING NAMES MARK JOHNSON AS GENERAL MANAGER INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 7, 2006 - - PKV Racing announced today that motorsports veteran manager Mark Johnson has assumed the General Manager duties for the team. Johnson...


INDIANAPOLIS, IN - - JULY 7, 2006 - - PKV Racing announced today that motorsports veteran manager Mark Johnson has assumed the General Manager duties for the team.

Johnson has a long history of success in motorsports. He worked for Kawasaki Motors Corp., USA for 17 years from 1979-1996. Starting as a mechanic for professional motorcross rider Jeff Ward, Johnson worked his way through the ranks to become a senior manager that contributed to building the most dominating motorcycle racing program, Team Green, in the history of the motorcycle industry. In addition to Ward, Johnson has been associated with riding legends Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Larry Roeseler, Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael and most recently James Stewart. He won championship titles for Kawasaki in MTEG and SCORE including eight consecutive Baja 1000 wins, and AMA Supercross, Motocross and Road Race competition championships.

In 1996, Johnson made the move to car racing joining Precision Preparation, Inc. (PPI Motorsports) as General Manager. At PPI, he was responsible for coordinating all efforts of PPI's multiple motorsports programs including the Arciero-Wells CART team, the MCI Toyota Off Road Team, and the MCI Toyota Atlantic Team. Johnson was promoted to Vice President of Operations and General Manager in 1998 assuming the additional responsibilities of overseeing the formation of PPI's NASCAR "Tide" Winston Cup and "McDonalds" BUSCH series operations.

Johnson moved to Team Rahal (Rahal/Letterman Racing) as Director of Operations in 2001 where he coordinated all aspects of the team's technical race operations for the Miller Lite, SHELL and Gigante sponsored Champ Car operations. In 2002, his responsibilities expanded to include establishing an Indy Racing League entry for a limited schedule including the Indianapolis 500. It was at Rahal/Letterman Racing that Johnson first worked with PKV Racing co-owner Jimmy Vasser, who was driving for the team.

Johnson returned to Kawasaki Motors Corporation U.S.A. in 2003 as Manager of Professional Motocross Racing for the Team Chevy Trucks Motocross Racing Team. As manager he was responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the 18 man team including Supercross/Motocross phnom James Stewart. Additional responsibilities included coordinating all activities with the Pro Circuit Team Chevy Trucks team and rider appointments.

In 2005, Johnson became the Managing Director for Team Motosport, a Honda factory satellite team in the AMA Pro Motocross and Supercross series. The team had the highest finish of any privateer in 2006, placing fifth in Supercross, for which they were voted team of the year and are currently third in the Motorcross series.

Commenting on the hiring of Johnson, Vasser said, "It has been very difficult to find a replacement for someone of the caliber of Jim McGee. But, I think in Mark Johnson we have found the man to take PKV Racing to the next level. We look forward to having Mark lead the team to for many years to come."

Johnson takes over a team that has established some momentum with solid performances coming into this weekend's race in Toronto. Oriol Servia, #6 Gulfsteam -- PKV Racing Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone, is riding a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes including the team's first podium showing of the season a third place performance two weeks ago in Cleveland. He and teammate Katherine Legge, #20 Bell Micro -- PKV Racing Ford Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone have both finished in the top-10 in two of the last three races (Servia, third and Legge, eighth at Cleveland; Sevia, fifth and Legge, sixth in Milwaukee) and currently sit ninth and 13th respectively in the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series points standings.

"I am honored to join PKV Racing," Johnson said. "Jim McGee established a solid foundation for the team and I just want to build on what exists and move to the next level of success. I look forward to working with all the excellent people we have at PKV Racing to make this one of the premier teams in the Champ Car World Series for many years to come."

Johnson, a native of Kansas City, Mo, currently resides in Laguna Niguel with wife, Becky and daughters Jessica and Shea.

Founded in January 2003, Indianapolis-based PKV Racing (PK Racing was established in 2003 with a different ownership group) will contest its fourth season of competition during the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season. PKV Racing is owned by successful venture capitalists Kevin Kalkhoven, who also co-owns the Champ Car World Series, and Dan Pettit, along with 1996 Series Champion Jimmy Vasser. The team has earned one victory, by Cristiano da Matta in Portland, and one pole, by Jimmy Vasser in Milwaukee both in 2005.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Ward , Jimmy Vasser , Oriol Servia , Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Katherine Legge , Wayne Rainey , Eddie Lawson , Kevin Kalkhoven , Cristiano da Matta