When Lowry native Zach Johnson picked up the win at the 5th annual Viking Fall Classic this past fall at Viking Speedway, it sealed up his second consecutive WISSOTA Late Model National Championship in as many years.
In accomplishing the feat back to back, Johnson joined Pete Parker, David Karst and Mitch Johnson as the only back-to-back champions in WISSOTA's 24-year history of sanctioning Late Models.
With the WISSOTA sanctioning body endorsing more than 50 tracks, it makes the accomplishment all that much more impressive.
With success comes opportunity and Johnson took full advantage of that this past season when he signed on with QA1 Shocks out of Lakeville to represent their product at the PRI Show in Orlando, FL this past December.
Johnson's 2008 CJ Rayburn Chassis Late Model was on hand for industry professionals to take a look at, sporting a new body wrap (graphics) from Trent Follmer at Pro Form Effex in Elk River. To say that Johnson's car was a big hit at the world-renowned trade show would be an understatement.
Johnson began racing go-karts in 1995 at the age of 10 at the nearby Runestone Raceway in Alexandria. He competed in several kart divisions for five years before strapping into a NASCAR Midwest Modified at Viking Speedway in 2000.
Over the years, Johnson has shown the ability to get the job done at any WISSOTA sanctioned facility, especially Viking Speedway.
In 2003, Viking Speedway organized their first Viking Fall Classic.
In a division (Midwest Modified) that boasted more than 80 competitors, Johnson scored the win in mighty impressive fashion at the ripe age of 18.
Johnson has since won the event two more times, once in a WISSOTA Modified and this past season in a WISSOTA Late Model.
Fast forward to 2007. The once wet-behind-the-ears rookie in the Midwest Modified division was now a full-blown star.
Johnson compiled 11 feature wins in 2007 and ultimately the Late Model National Championship.
In 2008, Johnson followed it up with 23 feature wins and his second consecutive title.
The interested observer would think the success could go to Johnson's head, but the interested observer would be wrong.
Johnson can be found racing three nights a week during the summer time. Along with his regular stop at Viking Speedway on Saturday night, Johnson also competes at Fiesta City Speedway in Montevideo; as well as Madison Speedway in Madison.
To say that Johnson has become a fan favorite over the past few years would be an understatement.
Although only 24 years old, Johnson conducts himself as a man who is much older and more mature. He can be seen at his trailer after the races signing autographs, handing out pictures and visiting with the loyal fans that support the speedway each and every week.
Many in the industry believe Johnson's demeanor and driving talent will some day land him a job racing for a living.
Johnson was honored at the WISSOTA National Awards banquet in November in St. Cloud for his National Championship. One thing he did not forget was to thank the people that helped him get to where he is today. Those people included parents Karla and Nathan, brother, Mitch and lovely wife, Becky.
Team Johnson was also helped to victory lane by crew members Derrik Strickler, Chad Johnson, Jim Drewes and Trevor Balbach.
Over the past two seasons, Zach Johnson has collected 33 wins, two national championships and a lot of national notoriety. It's a beautiful thing when you realize it all started right here at Viking Speedway!