Jimmie Johnson is first NASCAR driver to test positive for coronavirus

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.

Jimmie Johnson, a seven-time NASCAR champion, has reportedly tested positive for novel coronavirus, according to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass. The NASCAR insider also reports Johnson will miss the upcoming Brickyard 400.

Per Pockrass, Johnson has not exhibited any symptoms. He was first tested upon learning that his wife, Chandra, had tested positive for COVID-19 and received his own positive test afterward.

This means Justin Allgaier will be in the car for Sunday’s race, but Hendrick Motorsports has also identified one member of the crew who will need to self-quarantine due to close contact with Johnson.

In a statement, Johnson had the following to say:

“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates. 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, who held the longest consecutive start streak in NASCAR with 663 races, currently sits 12th in the standings, 63 points ahead of the cutoff point. No matter how his replacement does on Sunday and beyond, he will not receive those points; the owner will.

Pockrass also reports that NASCAR will grant Johnson a waiver to miss races and still remain eligible for the playoffs. He will be able to return to the driver’s seat once he’s symptom-free and has registered two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.

It was probably only a matter of time before NASCAR had its first driver test positive, even with safety protocol and masks in place. Hopefully Johnson makes a speedy recovery and the other drivers are able to steer clear of additional coronavirus cases.

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