Johnson is in his 20th season; His final year as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver
This weekend, NASCAR is unloading in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s the weekend of the famed Brickyard 400.
44-year-old, Jimmie Johnson will not attend.
As cases rise across the United States, the Coronavirus outbreak has now reached the field of drivers at the height of stock car racing. Johnson is the first driver to test positive for the virus.
Johnson’s wife, Chandra was tested after experiencing allergy-like symptoms. Johnson himself has not experienced any symptoms.
NASCAR returned in mid-May and have been operating in very limited capacity regarding staff and crowd attendance.
Johnson is currently in his final year as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. He’s collected 7 series titles, tied for the most all-time with Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.
Following this race week, Johnson was also scheduled to test and INDYCAR for the first time. That test would possibly lead to a race in the series for 2021.
Justin Allgaier will pilot the No. 48 car this weekend.
Related: Johnson to test Indycar ride
Jimmie Johnson comments
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said.
“I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it’s going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I’m supposed to be out there competing.”
“Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I’m going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention,” Johnson concluded.
Rick Hendrick comments on positive test for Johnson
“Jimmie has handled this situation like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
“We’re relieved he isn’t showing symptoms and that Chani is doing great, and we know he’ll be back and ready to go very soon. It’s going to be difficult for him to be out of the car and away from his team, but it’s the right thing to do for Jimmie and everyone involved,” Hendrick concluded.
NASCAR comments on positive COVID-19 test
“Following the guidelines outlined in the Event Operations Protocol manual, Jimmie Johnson has alerted NASCAR that he has tested positive for COVID-19,” A statement from NASCAR read.
“NASCAR has outlined the steps for Johnson’s return, in accordance with the CDC’s current guidelines, which includes that Johnson is symptom free and has two negative COVID-19 test results, at least 24 hours apart. NASCAR requires Johnson to be cleared by his physician before returning to racing.”
“Jimmie is a true battle-tested champion, and we wish him well in his recovery. NASCAR has granted Jimmie a playoff waiver, and we look forward to his return as he races for an eighth NASCAR Cup Series championship,” the NASCAR statement concluded.
Johnson was scheduled to start from 4th this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He sits 12th in the standings.
Johnson has 83 wins in his career. The last came in 2017. However, Hendrick Motorsports has shown speed in recent weeks and a win was likely.