NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Johnson becomes the first driver in any NASCAR series to test positive. Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson will not return until he is cleared by a physician. Johnson is said to be asymptomatic and was tested Friday after his wife, Chani, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms.
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson 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.”
Hendrick Motorsports has been one of the teams to implement strict protocols during the season, including daily COVID-19 screenings at the team facilities; the separation of facility operations and traveling personnel; split work schedules; stringent face covering and social distancing requirements; and an increased level of disinfecting and sensitization of all work areas.
Johnson has made 663 conscutive Cup Series starts which is the longest streak among active drivers.