Today, Jimmie Johnson will miss his first NASCAR Cup Series race in 663 events
Jimmie Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the NASCAR race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. The 7-time champion driver has of course been pulled from the No. 48 car for Hendrick Motorsports.
He’s the first NASCAR driver to test positive but the champ isn’t alone. Recently, 31 MLB players also tested positive for the virus.
His streak of 663 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series starts will come to an end. Instead, Justin Allgaier will pilot the No. 48 car this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
But, that’s not on his mind. Instead, his focus is on his family and specifically his two daughters, 9-year-old Genevieve and 6-year-old Lydia.
The 44-year-old driver is thankful that his wife encouraged the test. She picked up mild symptoms and decided it was best for her family to get tested.
Johnson and his wife Chandra both tested positive. They are asymptomatic. Meanwhile, their daughters both tested negative over the weekend.
Jimmie Johnson is trying to parent as he’s tested positive and his children are negative
Johnson and his family are now quarantined in their Colorado home.
“My biggest concern now is for my children,” Johnson said Saturday during a call with media. “They tested negative, as of yesterday, and we’ve been very responsible in our home trying to self-isolate.”
“But at the same time, we have to parent, and that’s really the tricky hurdle, trying to sort out right now while managing their fears.”
“They can’t come around Mom and Dad, and we’ve got to feed them, but we’re concerned about feeding them and passing the virus along.”
“We’re trying to be as healthy as we can, but I’m heartbroken right now seeing the fear in their eyes and watching them try to manage what’s going on right now. ‘Are their parents going to be like what they’ve seen in the news? Are they going to experience that?’ “
“I’m not sure how we’re going to handle that.”
Johnson: Contact tracing
Johnson has been busy and had more plans for the coming week. In the previous two weeks, Johnson ran NASCAR events at Talladega Superspeedway and Pocono Raceway. A week ago, he returned home to Charlotte.
Early in the week, Johnson visited Indianapolis to run the Dallara IndyCar simulator and meet with Chip Ganassi Racing members. Johnson had plans to run a real-life test session at Indianapolis in the coming week, his first go at an IndyCar machine.
Johnson was in contact with 2-4 Chip Ganassi Racing members. Additionally, Hendrick Motorsports stated one member of their road crew would be held back from the race weekend after being in contact with Johnson.
NASCAR has procedures in place that require all members to keep a logbook of everyone they come in contact with. This is more than just drivers, all members must keep a contract tracing book.
“I’ve been blown away, surprised, caught off guard and embarrassed to some respect,” Johnson said of catching the Coronavirus.
“I was fearful of the impact this would have on my race team and the guys at CGR that I came into contact with. Just all these emotions, primarily fear-based, but they’ve been much more work-focused than family-focused because we’re all healthy. Looking back, I’m thankful we feel well. We don’t seem to have any issues, so we don’t have that kind of fear in our lives.”
“But if my wife wasn’t the individual she is and the rule-follower and the caution she takes through life, I’d be walking around asymptomatic and infecting people.”
“I know the country is over quarantine and over all these technicalities we need to deal with, but as a family, we’ve been very safe and cautious.”
“For us to test positive, it just shows how diligent you need to be in all of this. Like many, my wife and I joked around for months that we had phantom symptoms and that we had it. When lockdown kicked in, if we sneezed our coughed, some of that was on our minds, and we joked about it. And here we are, asymptomatic.”
Johnson is in the middle of his final full-time season with the NASCAR Cup Series. He has plans to remove himself from the No. 48 in 2021.
There’s a path for Johnson to return to the car. NASCAR setup protocol with CDC guidance. He must be symptom free. Additionally, he must test negative for the virus, twice. Each negative test must be 24 hours apart.
Johnson is tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most all-time championships at seven.