Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday that Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 44-year-old is the first NASCAR driver publicly known to have the coronavirus, and he will miss Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson will be replaced by Justin Allgaier.
Johnson, a seven-time champion, was asymptomatic and took a coronavirus test after his wife Chandra had tested positive for the virus. He's never missed a race throughout his Cup Series career.
Jimmie Johnson, 44, has not experienced symptoms of COVID-19. He was tested upon learning this morning that his wife, Chandra, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms. He tested positive. Justin Allgaier will be in the car Sunday. #nascar @NASCARONFOX— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 3, 2020
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”
In order to return to the track, Johnson must be symptom-free, cleared by a physician and test negative for the virus twice in tests that are at least 24 hours apart.
Johnson has won four Brickyard 400s in 18 starts at Indianapolis but hasn't won it since 2012. He still is eligible for the playoffs, and NASCAR has granted him a waiver to miss races because of the virus.
NASCAR has granted Johnson a waiver to miss races and remain eligible for the playoffs. He can return when he is symptom free and has two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart. #nascar @NASCARONFOX— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) July 3, 2020
This is Johnson's final full-time season in NASCAR, and he's tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most Cup Series championships. He's won 83 races in 666 Cup Series starts.