Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the corona virus and will miss the race this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
44-year-old Johnson is the first driver in a NASCAR series to test positive. Friday night’s news casts a shadow over the historic NASCAR IndyCar double-header races taking place on Saturday and Sunday. There was no indication that races would be affected.
Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson would not return until released by a doctor. He was tested the Friday before after his wife Chani tested positive for allergy-like symptoms.
Johnson is asymptomatic.
The seven-time Cup series champion, Jimmie Johnson, is the first NASCAR driver to test positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Brickyard 400 this weekend
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” said Johnson. “I have never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it will be very difficult to watch from the sidelines if I am to start out there. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I will come back to win races and go to the playoffs. ‘
Johnson had held a zoom session with reporters on Friday to discuss Sunday’s race and an upcoming test of an Indy car on the street circuit of the legendary venue. He will now miss this test as well as his last Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier will replace him in the No. 48 Chevrolet.
“Jimmie treated this situation like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We are relieved that he has no symptoms and that Chani is fine and we know that he will be back soon and ready to go.
“It will be difficult for him to get out of the car and away from his team, but it is right for Jimmie and everyone involved.”
Hendrick Motorsports said it had implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of its team members.
This includes daily COVID-19 screenings in the team facilities. the separation of plant operations and traveling personnel; shared work plans; strict requirements for face covering and social distancing; and an increased level of disinfection and disinfection of all work areas.
Johnson was tested after his wife Chani, who was pictured alongside their two girls Lydia and Genevieve, tested positive for allergy-like symptoms
Johnson is slated to withdraw from the full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season, trying to keep Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners in Indianapolis.
Johnson has completed 663 consecutive Cup Series starts – the longest series among active drivers – and is currently 12th overall, 63 points in the playoff picture.
According to NASCAR rules, a driver must be symptom-free and must run two negative coronavirus tests within 24 hours to return.
NASCAR said it gave Johnson a playoff waiver.
“Jimmie is a true battle-proven champion and we wish him all the best for his recovery,” says the series.
Johnson could also possibly miss the Kentucky Cup race and the All Star race in Bristol. The test of the Indy road course in Scott Dixon’s car the next week was also canceled.
Johnson will not return to the competition until he has been cleared by a doctor. He claims to have had no symptoms of COVID-19
NASCAR was one of the first sports to resume competition after the pandemic and has completed eleven cup races since its return on May 17th. The sanction agency does not test for corona virus, but participants must perform a temperature test when entering the facility.
Drivers have been told to isolate themselves on the track and there is very little interaction beyond the radio conversation between the competitor and his crew.
Although Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske both said they had received positive tests from business team members, Johnson is the first driver. The Brazilian sports car driver Felipe Nasr said on Friday before that he had tested positive and will miss the IMSA event on Saturday at the Daytona International Speedway.
Johnson discussed the Indy auto test planned with Chip Ganassi Racing on Friday. He said this was the first step in determining if the actual races were in his future. If he’s good, he said, he would be open to all 12 street and street course events on the IndyCar schedule.
Johnson has long said safety concerns would keep him from driving on oval IndyCar tracks, but on Friday he offered a surprisingly softer stance on the Indy 500. IndyCar unveiled its windshield this year to protect drivers from dirt when they’re outdoors. Air cockpits. Saturday is only the second race with the device, but it appeared smoothly on the oval at the high-speed Texas Motor Speedway last month.
‘Your safety on ovals has increased dramatically this year with the windshield. So I’m going to keep a close eye on things there and see what the level of security looks like, ”Johnson said. “I’ve always wanted to drive the Indy 500. I had to sell a lot to my wife to get this passport, but my real wish now is to just take the street courses.”
According to NASCAR, Johnson must be symptom-free and have two negative COVID-19 test results at least 24 hours apart
Johnson is keeping an eye on the Long Beach, California street circuit race, a race that was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is one of the most famous events in the IndyCar calendar on a track just hours away from his hometown of El lies Cajon.
The 44-year-old Johnson, four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, should start the race in Indianapolis in fourth place in fourth place
“When I was a kid, the next IndyCar race for me was in Long Beach, so one of my hopes is that I can drive in Long Beach,” said Johnson. “As a child, I hung a lot on the fence and watched and dreamed. …. This race has a lot of sentimental value and I hope that I can race there. ‘
He’s in a three-year losing streak, but Hendrick Motorsports has improved dramatically this season and Johnson has been competitive. He has also been actively preparing for a vortex in an Indy car and should test with the McLaren team before the pandemic.
“It is a test, it is a test and it is a one-way street. Two-way attempt for the team to look at myself and myself for a team, ”he said. “When I’m about four seconds off the pace, that’s probably a quick sign that I don’t have to be in one of these cars. If I am within a certain time and have a good feeling for the car, this is an important first step for me to know that I can be competitive.
“I don’t want to race in any series and I don’t want to be competitive,” he said.