It’s the hardest role in racing.
We kiss ’em goodbye and head off to race the devil, chasing fences.
She stands in the pits and wonders how her night will end.
Will she romantically pull off his champagne-soaked leathers?
Or wait in some hospital praying to God that a trauma Doc can breathe life into him.
Bad too: endless silence on the 12-hour ride home if he doesn’t make ‘the main’.
The life of a racer can be hard, but it’s harder yet for those who love us.

Jake Johnson #5. [Jodi Johnson]
I first saw Jodi Johnson walking thru the pits, carrying a professional camera.
I thought she was media, but learned she’s married to Jake Johnson,
a legend who’s won two Grand National Championships.
Jodi is the nicest ‘cool kid’ you’ll ever meet.
Always has a minute and a kind word.
I’ve watched her blossom into a fine mom too.
I’m proud of her like she’s one of mine.
Early on I compliment her photos.
In kindness, she offered their use.
So the door was open.

Chad Cose, the Cali Kid, #49. [Jodi Johnson]
Jodi captures life in the American Flat Track pits.
She has a knack with brooding racers, in the moments before they head off to battle.
My professional artist friends call her work ‘glorious’ and ‘breathtaking’.
She laughed when I asked if she considers herself an artist.
Maybe that’s what makes her so noble.
Photos have been a lifetime love.
Her skills come intuitively,
And racing was part of growing up with a brother who competes.
At fourteen she met her future husband at the track.
At seventeen she asked Jake to her Junior Prom.
They were married in 2011 and now have a daughter named Emily.
She started photographing the track scene so friends and family could feel they were there.
Her photos tell a story, and friends could live it through her lens.
She hopes people will cherish her photos someday.
I was humbled by her mindfulness.

Max Whale #18, who is in fact 18 years old. [Jodi Johnson]
A while back, in the midst of  loss and turmoil, I wrote “Will the Rain Never Stop”
It was a special piece, but I did not have photos.
Remembering Jodi’s kind offer, my story is illuminated by her work.
For me, the story was a triumph.
It’s the best work I had ever done,
Thanks to the help from my friend Jodi.

Estenson Racing [Jodi Johnson]
Ryan Wells #94, as badass as he looks.  [Jodi Johnson]
Charlie Vanderlan and Oliver Brindley [Jodi Johnson]
Shayna Texter. [Jodi Johnson]
Barry Smith and Stevie Addison of the JR Addison team. [Jodi Johnson]
Jake Johnson #5, Jodi’s husband. [Jodi Johnson]
Seconds after Briar Bauman won the Championship. [Jodi Johnson]
JR Addison [Jodi Johnson]
Jarod Vanderkooi #17 [Jodi Johnson]
Jake Johnson #5. [Jodi Johnson]
Jake Johnson #5. [Jodi Johnson]
Briar Bauman #14. [Jodi Johnson]
Brad Baker #1 [Jodi Johnson]
The lady herself: Jodi Johnson.


Michael Lawless, our ‘Poet of Packed Earth’, is the Flat Track Editor for, and has his own blog: Electric Horseman