By LARRY VAUGHT
Give Jimmie Johnson credit for not only openly talking about testing positive for COVID-19 during a press conference Saturday but also not sounding the least bit bitter.
He won’t be racing in today’s Brickyard 400 and might not even be able to compete at Kentucky Speedway next week as he tries to end his 100-race winless streak.
His wife first tested positive and then Johnson, a 7-time Cup champion, did to snap his streak of 663 consecutive starts without missing a race.
“If it wasn’t for Chani’s diligence on trying to do the right thing at all times, we would be going on life as normal and who knows who we could have come in contact with and the repercussions that that could have had?” Johnson said Saturday morning. “I know our country and the world right now is over quarantine and over all these technicalities that we need to deal with. But as a family that’s been very safe and very cautious, to end up testing positive, it just shows how diligent you truly need to be through all this.”
Johnson seems more worried about his children, ages 6 and 9. They both tested negative and Johnson wants to keep it that way.
“We’re being very responsible in our home and trying to self-isolate, but at the same time we have to parent and that’s really the tricky hurdle we’re trying to sort out right now on top of managing their fears,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to feed them and we’re concerned, feeding them and passing the virus, so we’re trying to be as healthy as we can but you know, on the home front with our kids, we’re heartbroken right now to see the fear in their eyes and watching them try to manage what’s going on right now.”
Johnson, who has won 83 career races, took his family from North Carolina to Aspen, Colorado, a few weeks ago to keep them safer. Instead, Johnson and his wife both now have COVID-19.
“I can be down and out on my situation, but if I turn on the news and I see how this virus has impacted so many others, I quickly feel thankful that I’m asymptomatic and that I don’t have any major issues. So it’d be very easy right now to get bummed out and to look at this the wrong way but I’m healthy and my wife is healthy,” Johnson said. “We don’t know how many days in that I am right now so there is some concern that my conditions could worsen. But I literally have had zero symptoms.
“My wife at the most has allergy-like symptoms, which isn’t uncommon for us this time of the year in Colorado. I’m trying really hard to not be disappointed on the professional side or maybe some of these more selfish things that I’m going to miss out on, and be thankful that I’m healthy and my family’s healthy.”