Gordon Johncock remains one of Michigan's heroes – and a local racing legend. He won the Indianapolis 500 twice (1973 and 1982) and the Michigan 500 in 1982.

Gordon was born in Hastings in 1936 and began racing at the Berlin Raceway in the Michigan town of Marne. His Indy career kicked off in 1964, running four races and going full-time by 1965. Not a fan of doing interviews, he would always hide when he saw a member of the press heading his way.

1966: Formed is own team, Johncock Racing
1970-1973: Winless
1973: Filed bankruptcy
1976: Won USAC Nat'l Championship, taking Johnny Rutherford's title away
1976 & 1978: Finished third at Indy 500
1991: Sixth place at Indy 500, thanks to a bout with the flu
1992: Last race – Indy 500, but had to drop out thanks to faulty engine

There are many, many more facets to Gordon's racing career, that you can read about here.

After that last race, he kept himself away from racing and eventually started operating his own lumber company in 1999 after buying Quigley Lumber in South Branch. His racing career took its toll on his health – thanks to the numerous injuries he suffered over the decades, he has trouble breathing thanks to the many broken ribs he endured.

Gordon also became hard of hearing but those 'little things' did not deter him from his sawmill. He continued in the lumber business for a number of years, then sold out – the lumber company sits permanently closed at 5874 Heath Road in South Branch.

Preferring the outdoors and farming to racing, Gordon did appear at the 2023 Indy 500 in celebration of his win there 50 years earlier. Approaching 90 years old, that may be his last brush with the industry.

Gordon Johncock - Born in Hastings


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