Jimmie Johnson has tried to figure out how or when he could have contracted COVID-19 and doesn’t know for sure.
Johnson tested positive for coronavirus July 3 ahead of the Brickyard 400. He was forced to miss the race — the first time he’s missed a race in his Cup Series career — because of the positive test. But he tested negative on Monday and Tuesday and is cleared to return to the Cup Series for Sunday’s race at Kentucky.
“I’ve followed the protocol,” Johnson said. “It brings a lot of questions as to where I was in the journey of being positive and all of that. There’s a lot of speculation there. I don’t know those answers and believe me, I’m the most frustrated person out there, especially living in a world of facts that we do. To not have the facts drives me bananas, but I have followed protocol and I’ve been reinstated. That’s about all I can speak to at this point.”
Johnson is the first NASCAR driver to miss a race because of COVID-19. He took the coronavirus test after his wife Chandra had gotten a test after having some allergy-like symptoms. Chandra Johnson tested positive on Wednesday. Jimmie Johnson hasn’t experienced any coronavirus symptoms at all throughout the last two weeks.
“I’ve had no symptoms through this journey,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of scenarios that can play out – probably three or four scenarios that could play out – and to go through them and try to form an opinion would just be speculating. And at this point, I just don’t think that’s very intelligent or smart to do.”
The seven-time champion was replaced by Justin Allgaier at Indy. Allgaier had to start at the back of the field because he replaced Johnson and ended up in a crash on pit road during the first caution of the day because of his starting position.
Johnson said Saturday night before the race was the hardest point for him. Johnson, who is retiring at the end of the season, was set to race for the final time at Indianapolis. In a stock car, anyway. Johnson had started 663-straight Cup Series races before he missed the race.
“I would say that Saturday night trying to go to sleep was probably the most difficult time for me, knowing that I wasn’t going to be in the car,” Johnson said. “Sunday morning was still pretty tough, but I felt like Saturday night was probably the peak of the emotions that go with missing a race and the consecutive start streak coming to an end. Not being in the car, my final year – all the things that you would naturally think of, Saturday night was the peak.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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