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Johnny Stevenson Passes Away

Johnny Stevenson passes away suddenly…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Longtime sports car racing team owner Johnny Stevenson passed away suddenly on Monday, Sportscar365 has learned.

The Stevenson Motorsports patriarch, who owned a network of car dealerships in North Carolina, was 69.

According to a report from WNCT9, Jacksonville, N.C. police are still investigating the cause of the death, which happened at Stevenson Toyota this morning. 

Stevenson’s sudden passing comes just weeks after the decision for the championship-winning team to cease operations at the end of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, after 15 years in the sport.

The team won the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS championship, as well as the North American Endurance Cup title in 2013, in Grand-Am, having accumulated 33 wins and 75 podium finishes in more than 270 starts since 2013.

A reason for the team’s closure was not given at the time.

Stevenson and his wife Susan were honored just last week during the WeatherTech Night of Champions end-of-year awards ceremony with a painting, commentating the team’s involvement in IMSA.

“Everyone in the IMSA family is shocked and saddened to hear the news of Johnny’s passing,” IMSA president Scott Atherton said in a statement. “Johnny led a fantastic race team for many years, and he will be missed in the IMSA paddock.

“Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to his wife, Susan, and the rest of the Stevenson family.”

The team had long been linked with GM, having most recently run the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in Continental Tire Challenge competition, having given the car its maiden win at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July.

“We are saddened by the sudden, unexpected passing of Johnny Stevenson,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports.

“He was a kind and caring man who always conducted himself with class. He will be missed by everyone on his team and within the racing community.

“John was a strong competitor and partner, and a great friend. Our thoughts are with Susan and the Stevenson family at this difficult time.”

Sportscar365 extends its condolences to the Stevenson family at this time.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. Louis

    October 16, 2017 at 5:09 pm


    R.I.P. Johnny, thank you for many years of being in the sport.

  2. Denis L. Tanney

    October 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I am deeply saddened by this news. I was Johnny’s very first photographer when he came into Grand Am racing a Porsche and stayed with him for the next 6 or so years. He was always the ultimate gentleman, always wearing his perfectly ironed white shirts and always had kind words for me no matter what or when or the situation. He and Susan were always there and always ready to help me when I needed them. My heart goes out to the family. – Denis L. Tanney

    • Ken

      October 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      He did have some nice white shirts. They made him easy to find. Great guy!!!

  3. guest

    October 16, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    WOW. I remember his Petit interview on TV saying he was almost 70 and it was time to enjoy retirement. Very tragic.

    • Scott Carlberg

      October 16, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      SAME exact thing I thought of.

    • Mark - Toronto

      October 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      That was the first thing that came to my mind as well.
      My sympathies to all that knew him.

  4. Russ Adams

    October 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Wow ,thats hard to comprehend. Such a nice guy at the track,If you was looking at here car and he was around he loved to talk with you ….and you just The common fan Thanks sir Wishing the best to your family

  5. Carroll Hart

    October 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    My heart is breaking for the lost of this wonderful person and friend. Both Susan and Johnny were a Southern Lady and Southern Gentlemen. Someone to respect and love. You will be missed.

  6. Michael Edwards

    October 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Johnny and Susan brought a new level of class to the grid. My son was privileged to drive for them. Our thoughts are with Susan.

  7. Constance Hill McDaniel

    October 16, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Sorry for your loss. My mom worked for Susan and Johnny over 20yrs and they treated her just like family. He will be missed. Praying for the family.

  8. Howard Chapman

    October 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    This is so very sad. I didn’t know Johnny personally, but he ran a first class operation. If an organization is a reflection of its leader, he must have been a very special guy. God bless his family during their time of grieving.

  9. Matt Plumb

    October 16, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    A complete gentlemen and a true competitor, first one to congratulate anyone on success and console in rough times. Loss to our community and no doubt others.

  10. Jeff Wagner

    October 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Very sad. Not knowing what was going to happen, it’s now extra special they (I read a quote) didn’t bother to fix the car in Georgia and just went out for dinner as a team one more time and had a wonderful time being together one last time. (as the team was closing down).

  11. Ken Van de Water

    October 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    I met Johnny several times as a fan at Watkins, Road Atlanta, VIR, Daytona and more. He was always very nice and treated race car fans exceptionally well. What a great loss for the Motorsports industry and condolences to his friends and family.

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