SMILE: DJR Team Penske owner Dick Johnson at the Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway on Friday.
SMILE: DJR Team Penske owner Dick Johnson at the Ipswich SuperSprint at Queensland Raceway on Friday. Rob Williams

Queensland's Supercar legend reaches record in Ipswich

HE FIRST earned a spot in Australian hearts 39 years ago and, as the crowds at Queensland Raceway yesterday proved, Dick Johnson remains a fan favourite.

The Queenslander, whose racing career started in 1964, will this weekend lead the first team in Supercars history to start 900 championship races.

He'll do it at Queensland Raceway, the team's home circuit where the front straight is named in his honour.

Winning has always come naturally to Johnson, who took victory in his second ever race.

Tomorrow, DJR Team Penske will become the first team in the Australian Touring Car and Supercars Championship history to start 900 races.

 

Fabian Coulthard in action in the Ipswich SuperSprint practice session at Queensland Raceway on Friday.
Fabian Coulthard in action in the first Ipswich SuperSprint practice session. Rob Williams

The Yatala-based team will reach the milestone on home soil at Queensland Raceway in tomorrow's race.

Johnson rose to prominence throughout the 1970s before exploding into the national consciousness at the 1980 Bathurst 1000, when he hit the infamous rock while leading the Great Race.

The crash, which was set to financially break Johnson, instead prompted an outpouring of support and cash from the Australian public.

Johnson would become one of Australia's most loved sporting characters, going on to win three Bathurst 1000 titles and five Australian Touring Car Championships in a career that lasted more than 30 years.

After his retirement from driving in 1999, Johnson continued as the figurehead of Dick Johnson Racing.

Last year Supercars young-gun Scott McLaughlin edged out Shane van Gisbergen to win the team's eighth championship.