NASCAR Driver Jimmie Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Jimmie Johnson
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The seven-time champion is the first NASCAR driver to test positive for the illness.

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. The seven-time champion is the first NASCAR driver to test positive for the illness.

The 44-year-old racer confirmed the diagnosis in a statement on NASCAR’s website.

“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” he 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.”

NASCAR also released a statement, sharing that Johnson would not be permitted to return to racing until he was cleared of symptoms and has two negative coronavirus tests at least 24 hours apart. The protocols are in line with the CDC’s guidelines. 

“Jimmie is a true battle-tested champion, and we wish him well in his recovery,” NASCAR’s statement read. “NASCAR has granted Jimmie a playoff waiver, and we look forward to his return as he races for an eighth NASCAR Cup Series championship.”         

NASCAR was one of the first sports to resume competition amid the coronavirus pandemic -- first by not allowing spectators and then holding socially-distanced races.

Johnson, who previously announced 2020 would be his last year as a full-time driver, was scheduled to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Justin Allgaier will take his place at the event.

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