Best NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson checks constructive for coronavirus

Top NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — 7-time NASCAR winner Jimmie Johnson has analyzed optimistic for the coronavirus and will skip this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,

The 44-calendar year-previous Johnson is the initial driver in any NASCAR series to check optimistic and the information Friday evening solid a shadow in excess of the historic NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader races coming up Saturday and Sunday. There was no sign any races would be influenced.

Hendrick Motorsports explained Johnson will not return right until he is cleared by a medical professional. He was analyzed earlier Friday immediately after his spouse, Chani, examined beneficial right after suffering from allergy-like signs.

Johnson is asymptomatic.

“My to start with priority is the overall health and basic safety of my cherished ones and my teammates,” Johnson explained. “I’ve in no way skipped a race in my Cup career, but I know it is likely to be very tricky to watch from the sidelines when I’m intended to be out there competing. Though this problem is very disappointing, I’m going to occur back again ready to acquire races and put ourselves in playoff rivalry.”

Johnson previously Friday held a Zoom session with reporters to go over Sunday’s race and an approaching test of an Indy car on the road program at the fabled location. He will now pass up that test, as perfectly as what was supposed to be his ultimate Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier will change him in the No. 48 Chevrolet.

“Jimmie has dealt with this scenario like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, operator of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re relieved he isn’t displaying signs or symptoms and that Chani is executing good, and we know he’ll be back and all set to go very soon. It is likely to be tricky for him to be out of the motor vehicle and away from his workforce, but it’s the right issue to do for Jimmie and everybody included.”

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Hendrick Motorsports claimed it has executed in depth treatments to protect the well being of its staff associates. They include day by day COVID-19 screenings at the workforce services the separation of facility functions and touring personnel split get the job done schedules stringent confront masking and social distancing demands and an greater stage of disinfecting and sanitization of all perform places.

Johnson is scheduled to retire from complete-time NASCAR competitors at the close of the time and was trying to tie Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners at Indianapolis.

Johnson has produced 663 conscutive Cup Series commences — the longest streak amid active drivers — and is presently 12th in the standings, 63 details within the playoff image. NASCAR’s regulations point out a driver have to be symptom absolutely free and have two detrimental coronavirus checks in a 24-hour span to return.

NASCAR stated it has granted Johnson a playoff waiver.

“Jimmie is a accurate struggle-tested winner, and we wish him well in his restoration,” the series stated.

Johnson could probably also overlook the Cup race at Kentucky and the All-Star race at Bristol. Future week’s test of the road course at Indy in Scott Dixon’s motor vehicle has also been scrapped.

NASCAR was one particular of the first sports activities to resume level of competition from the pandemic shutdown and has accomplished 11 Cup races given that its May possibly 17 return. The sanctioning overall body does not check for coronavirus but participants are necessary to do a temperature look at as they enter the facility.

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Drivers have been advised to isolate at the track and there is really tiny interaction outside of radio conversation involving the competitor and his crew.

Despite the fact that Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske the two claimed they’ve experienced optimistic checks from store-based staff customers, Johnson is the very first driver. Previously Friday, Brazilian sports auto driver Felipe Nasr mentioned he experienced analyzed optimistic and will overlook Saturday’s IMSA celebration at Daytona International Speedway.

Johnson earlier Friday talked over the Indy automobile take a look at scheduled with Chip Ganassi Racing, which hesaid was the first move in identify if genuine races are in his future. If he’s any excellent, he claimed, he would be open up to racing all 12 road and street system situations on the IndyCar program.

Johnson has prolonged explained basic safety issues would hold him from racing on IndyCar oval tracks, but Friday he presented a remarkably softer stance about the Indy 500. IndyCar this calendar year unveiled its aeroscreen windshield designed to shield the motorists from debris as they sit in the open-air cockpits. Saturday will mark just the 2nd race with the unit, but it appeared issue-no cost very last thirty day period on the oval at higher-velocity Texas Motor Speedway.

“Their safety on ovals has dramatically increased this yr with the windscreen. So, I’ll keep a shut eye on items there and see how the basic safety stage appears to be like,” Johnson said. “I’ve always wanted to race the Indy 500. I’d have to do a great deal of offering to my wife to get that move, but my correct need correct now is to just run the road programs.”

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Johnson has his eye on the road course race in Prolonged Seashore, California, a race that was canceled this yr since of the coronavirus pandemic but is one of the most storied events on the IndyCar calendar at a observe just a pair several hours from his indigenous El Cajon.

“When I was a child escalating up, the closest IndyCar racing for me was at Long Seashore so one particular of my hopes is that I am in a position to race at Extended Seashore,” Johnson stated. “I hung on the fence a good deal as a child looking at and dreaming. …. There is a lot of sentimental value with that race and I hope to race there.”

He is caught in a three-12 months getting rid of streak but Hendrick Motorsports has been dramatically improved this time and Johnson has been competitive. He has also been actively prepping for a whirl in an Indy auto and had been scheduled to exam with the McLaren staff in advance of the pandemic.

“It’s a test, it’s a tryout and it’s a two-way avenue. Two-way tryout for the team to search at me and for myself to glance at a group,” he stated. “If I’m about four seconds off the rate, then which is probably a rapid signal that I really do not need to have to be in one of these automobiles. If I’m in a selected amount of money of time and I have a great come to feel of the auto, then for me, I experience like that’s an crucial initially phase that I need to know that I can be competitive.

“I do not want to go race in any collection and not be competitive,” he stated.

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