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Nikita Johnson Earns Valuable Experience, Prize Package For YACademy Winter Series Championship

Johnson's Three Wins Score Prize Package Including Free Entry Into the USF Juniors Championship Season Opener

HOMESTEAD, Florida (February 25, 2022) – Thirteen-year-old Nikita Johnson, from Gulfport, Florida, captured the YACademy Winter Series championship in the month of February with three wins, taking home a prize package and race experience designed to give him a leg up in the upcoming full-season USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires Championship. 


Johnson earned three wins in the six-race championship, which followed 10 days of testing in the same Honda-powered Ligier chassis he will drive with his Velocity Racing Development (VRD) team this season. 


The youngster, making the transition from karting to the open-wheel ladder, capitalized with a pair of wins in the opening tripleheader at Sebring International Raceway and adding another at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In all, Johnson was the most consistent finisher as well, adding an additional two podium finishes to his point tally. 


“All of us at the YACademy Winter Series would like to congratulate Nikita on his championship performance,” Gustavo Yacaman, owner and promoter of the YACademy Winter Series, said. “Nikita persevered through some competitive and challenging situations against a strong class of drivers and came out on top to earn the Winter Series prize pack. We’ll be excited to watch him and our other competitors as they move into USF Juniors this summer.” 


For the win, Johnson earns a free entry to the season-opener of the USF Juniors Championship courtesy of Andersen Promotions, a Bell 8860 Helmet, and a brand-new race suit from Torq Racewear, along with Red Line Oil for himself and his Velocity Racing Development team. 


“It feels amazing,” Johnson said on the podium after the final race. ”I pretty much all the time am talking to Dan Mitchell about the next race and testing, and wouldn’t be here without all of them.”


VRD Racing captured its second YACademy Winter Series Championship in three years, and understands the value of the extended season for young drivers.  


“We are ecstatic to win another championship,” Dan Mitchell, VRD owner, said. “After last season, it’s great to go two for two. This championship has always provided our drivers and team preparation for the main championship. It’s something I think will only grow with its great management and media team. The development my drivers get during this series is priceless. They made many mistakes learning many lessons, something I think is important – especially for young rookies!”


The YACademy Winter Series has been proven to give a leg up to competitors, with alumni finishing in the top five throughout the open-wheel ladder in 2021. Kyffin Simpson (FR Americas) and Christian Rasmussen (Indy Pro 2000) each earned pro racing championships in 2021 as Winter Series graduates. 


About the YACAdemy Winter Series

Operated by YACAdemy Track Days founder Gustavo Yacaman, the YACAdemy Winter Series provides additional seat time for drivers making the jump into professional open-wheel racing. Yacaman is an accomplished racing driver with over 20 years of experience at all levels of racing and coaching who has participated in all levels of professional racing, including the world’s major endurances races. The YACAdemy Winter Series is partnered with Cooper Tires, Red Line Oil, Bell Helmets, Torq, Ettrone and Andersen Promotions for the 2021-2022 Winter Season. More information can be found at

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