John “Johnny” Rocca (1941 – 2019) Associate Tribal Member / Bear Clan

John “Johnny” Rocca (1941 – 2019)  / Bear Clan

Born and raised in rural Virginia, Johnny passed away peacefully at his home in Winchester, Virginia.

Johnny joined the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country until injuries received from a military operation forced him to return to civilian life.

Through hard work and dedication, Johnny built a successful highway contracting business, specializing in traffic signals in the Washington, D.C. area, while at the same time studying electrical engineering at the University of Maryland

Johnny’s love of racing began when he was a teenager; his first race was in 1959 at Marylands Aquasco Speedway, he first raced with the National Hot Rod Association and then the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). It was in the IHRA that Johnny’s skills and exploits as a driver, builder, and owner of race cars became widely known; he won national championships, set records, and raced competitively in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Johnny was inducted into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in 2008.

Proud of his Native American heritage, Johnny used his Pro Modified vehicles with names such as Tin Indian and Dark Horse not only to race competitively but to educate the public about his Native American heritage.

After a long and successful racing career, Johnny went onto spend his time as a broadcaster, serving as an analyst for SPEED Channel and co-host of In the Pits Racing Radio on Washington, D.C. talk-radio station WJFK.

Johnny worked diligently and with great perseverance his entire life, enjoying great success in both business and racing, all of which he shared with his loving and supportive family.

In his own words, “It’s about recognition for the Native American. That’s why I still wear my hair long. These are warrior braids. I have them because I am entitled to wear them. I still dance and all the other things related to my native people. I am very much into the way of my people. I hold myself out that way. I wear my moccasins. I dance when I win, when I’m happy. So this is where I’ve evolved. The waning, sunset part of my career is really dedicated to my people. I’m very much into it,”.