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Former Hendrick Motorsports GM Jimmy Johnson Passes
Former Hendrick Motorsports general manager Jimmy Johnson passed away Friday evening at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after suffering a stroke earlier in the week. He was 61.

"So much of what we are today can be traced back to the late nights and long hours that Jimmy put in," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. "He had a vision and a passion for this company, and it showed in everything that he did. It's impossible to measure the impact he had on Hendrick Motorsports."

An accountant by trade, Johnson came to Hendrick Motorsports after a successful stint with Hendrick Automotive Group that started in 1983. As general manager, he oversaw the day-to-day racing operations beginning in December 1985 and grew the company from less than 40 employees to nearly 400 during his 16-year tenure. zzzz

A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Johnson was integral in building Hendrick Motorsports in the mid-1980s and helped shepherd its expansion from one to four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. He shared in 100 Cup-level race wins and eight NASCAR championships.

Following his retirement from Hendrick Motorsports after the 2001 season, Johnson was named director of special projects for the Hendrick Companies, where he oversaw the acquisition and management of Ricky Hendrick Performance Honda Suzuki (Pineville, N.C.) and Old Glory Harley-Davidson (Laurel, Md.). He was also the developer of the Teeter Farms community in Mooresville.

"There wasn't anyone who was more of a joy to be around than Jimmy," Hendrick said. "He taught my son (Ricky Hendrick) so much about business and life, and he was a great friend to all of us. We thought of Jimmy as a member of the family, and he will be sincerely missed."

Johnson, who lived in Mooresville, is survived by wife Priscilla and sons Jamie, Ryan and Dustin. Memorial plans have not yet been finalized.

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