NASCAR, unfortunately, has its first COVID-19 case.
Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to NASCAR.
Johnson, 44, is the first driver in any NASCAR series to test positive. He was tested Friday after his wife, Chani, tested positive following allergy-like symptoms. The veteran driver is asymptomatic but will not return until he is cleared by a physician.
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said, per FOX NASCAR. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career (663 consecutive starts), 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.”
Jimmie Johnson on missing the Brickyard 400 after testing positive for COVID-19: pic.twitter.com/cgdpZSIdFp
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 3, 2020
Johnson is 12th in the standings and 63 points inside the playoff picture. NASCAR already has granted Johnson a playoff waiver, while Justin Allgaier will replace him in the No. 48 Chevrolet.
NASCAR released a statement of its own, which you can read below.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 3, 2020
Johnson must be symptom-free and have two negative coronavirus tests in a 24-hour span to return, per NASCAR’s rules.