J.R. Carey and Gene
by Danny White (2/98)
Paris Drag Strip was struck with two hard blows in the past month with
the passing of J.R. Carey and Gene Johnson.
J.R. Carey of Paris was 87 years old and the oldest drag racer in the
world. The popular Mr. Carey ran his last race this past summer before retiring due to
health problems. The career of J.R. Carey spanned over sixty years in racing. He ran his
first race at a local Louisiana fair -- and he won. Mr. Carey earned $25 for his efforts.
He was involved in drag racing, dirt track, bull rings, go-carts, speedboats, and even
mule teams. The highest accolade Mr. Carey earned was the International Championship he
won in endurance go-cart racing. Mr. Carey was featured on The Nashville Network's NHRA
Today television show several years ago and gained a couple of sponsors because of it.
The family of J.R. Carey gave his No Electronics 1963 Chevy II to Paris Drag Strip as a
Gene Johnson of Sulphur Springs, Texas, age 50, passed away Monday the
3rd of February due to a heart attack. Gene was a latecomer to serious drag racing,
starting in the No Electronics class three years ago in a 1980 Corvette. Gene's goal was
to be track champion in the tough No Electronics class, a goal he achieved in 1997. Gene
was a well-liked and popular racer because of his calm demeanor and his ability to be
amazingly consistent week in and week out. Gene celebrated his birthday and received his
Paris Track Champion trophy the Friday before he died.
The Paris Drag Strip track management and their fellow racers express
deepest condolences to the families of J.R. Carey and Gene Johnson. Both gentlemen will be
missed by all who knew them.
Danny White, 2/12/98