Signature Profiles
Johnny Mancuso          © 2000 Dwight Drum


When I (Dwight) phoned Johnny Mancuso, I was eager to ask about his recent African Safari, but I had to ask quickly because he was preparing to leave for Australia…and I thought I was a traveler. Johnny returned from the ADBA Australian tour where the four best American, European, Australian and Canadian Top/Fuelers raced in the summer down under, while racers from the US and Europe waited through winter. Plug into our conversation as I chat with this glib racer who hunts for the best ET every time he faces the tree…

DOB: April 10, 1950 Birth Town: Houston Home Town: Houston

Do you have a nickname?

"Not really."

Who are your Heroes?

"John Force the wild man, and Warren Johnson the talented man. They're opposites."

What are (or have been) your scariest moments?

"When I blew up my bike. I had seen a fellow rider killed and Jim McClure injured in the same kind of incident. I didn't know right away if I was badly hurt. When I saw the look on my wife's face…That scared me!"

Do you work out?

"A little. My wife and I got each other a treadmill. I'm on the go a lot at work. Our property is long."

Do you have a special diet?

"Low fat. I try to avoid high sugar stuff, but I'm not good at it. I'm a chocoholic."

What mental routine prepares you for each run?

"I try to stay focused. I look in the mirror and get mad at myself, if I don't do a good job. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror, and threaten to fire the rider."

Do you have time for a hobby?

"Yeah. Horse-back riding."

Many motorcyclists ride to unravel, what do you do to unwind?

"I like to work on my farm and ride horses."

What personal quality (one trait) would you want (to be admired for?) your fans to admire most?


What's most important? 1.Fame 2.Money 3.Thrill/fun 4.Winning

"Winning. That brings money, recognition, and you get the thrill and fun too."

Are you happy?


What could make you happier?

"I 'd like to win championships in the ADBA and the IHRA. Having a successful season with no injuries or incidents would be great."

(Johnny was the Top Fuel Champion in ADBA and IHRA in 1998)

If you could change one thing about motorcycle drag racing, what would it be?

"More spectators."

When driving a car, do you always wear a seatbelt? Yes. 2. No. 3. If yes, really?


What does 185 plus miles an hour on a motorcycle feel like?

"Like a great eighth mile. My best is 216.93. I have the four quickest passes by a nitro Harley. (6.471, 6.501, 6.507, 6.517) If it takes a long time to stop, you know you've done well. The quicker, the faster, the easier it is to ride. You know the wheel is up, just carry it to the finish line."

WHERE do you find the most peace in your life?

"Sitting at home with my wife watching TV. When my wife and I are riding horses together."

Do you have a full-time occupation?

"Harley-Davidson Dealer."

You're a skilled racer…What one factor, what one reason separates you from the fast traffic on smooth public highways?

"They're usually behind me."

What got you started in Motorcycle drag racing?

"I was a car racer as a kid. Hot Rod. I got involved in NHRA with modified production. I lost interest in cars. I got interested in motorcycles, and it was a natural progression to race. Warren Johnson may run the fastest, but a 6.80 on a Harley is a whole different deal."

Additional Comments?

"My parents would never let me own a motorcycle. My dad always encouraged me to become an entrepreneur. I bought a BSA and stored it at a friend's house. Then I disassembled it and brought it home in pieces. I told my parents that I was going to put it together and sell it, make some money. When I put it together, of course I had to ride it to test it."

Which is more exciting, racing motorcycles or an African Safari?

"The motorcycle is exciting and challenging, but hunting in Africa was challenging in a different way. We won an awards trip from Harley Davidson for being in the top 150 dealerships in the world, and while we were there we extended the trip five days and traveled near the border of Zimbabwe. Hunting animals in the wild is unbelievable. I had mixed emotions when it came time to shoot the animal, but none of the hunted animals are endangered species. We stalked Impala, Gemsbok, Kudu and Wildebeests, only the antelope types.

The African ranch is a well-managed 45,000 acres. They sell the animals as well as guide the safaris and arrange for your trophies. They also process and age the meat for two days, and then they serve you dinner prepared from your hunt... "

Whether Johnny Mancuso is racing in the USA or Australia or on a safari in Africa, he's bound to push the edge of life to brink of excitement. His actions enable me to easily select an appropriate word to describe him. Gary agreed. Our one word for this brave racer is…


535 North Loop at North Main
Houston, TX 77018
SALES TEL (713) 880-5666
SERVICE TEL (713) 880-2509
FAX (713) 880-2512

1999 Back