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Jimmie Johnson is making the best of a bad situation.
The seven-time NASCAR Cup champion is working from home like many Americans, which isn’t exactly easy when you’re job is to drive racecars around a track.
“I’m, like everyone else is, trying to do my part. Being serious about the social distancing and trying to take advantage of the time at home, the time with my family,” Johnson told Fox News Autos.
“Clearly it’s a very severe issue that’s taking place, and my heart goes out to the families affected by this virus and I’m certainly hoping that we find solutions soon.”
Johnson said he’s been keeping busy in North Carolina by helping to homeschool his young daughters, Genevieve and Lydia, and tending to what business he can, but the avid runner and cyclist has had to change his fitness routine a bit.
“I’m finding shorter windows to train, so my cardio and endurance side has been a little less, but I do have a small home gym and I’ve been able to spend more time in there,” he said, adding that it’s more of an off-season routine focused on strength.
He is competing in a racing season, however, just not the one he’s used to. The Hendricks Motorsports driver has been taking part in the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational simulation racing series alongside several other NASCAR Cup drivers, both to stay sharp and have some fun.
He said one big difference is that instead of communicating with other drivers through their spotters, or waiting to have words with them in the garage after the race, the drivers can chat with each other during the event.
“To hear that unfiltered frustration and things that take place has been pretty funny.”
And it’s not just NASCAR drivers. Johnson was planning to test an IndyCar this month with an eye on possibly entering a couple of races next year after he retires from full-time cup racing. Since it had to be cancelled, he’s also been racing in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, finishing 12th in the race at Barber Motorsports Park, where is test was supposed to happen.
As of now, the suspended IndyCar season isn’t scheduled to restart before June 6 in Texas, while NASCAR is hoping to be back on track in Martinsville by May 9, although that’s far from certain at this point.
Whenever it does, NASCAR said it is aiming to get in a full 36-race season, despite only having held four events so far. That means a major shakeup will be in order that could include double-headers at several tracks. Given the unusual turn what was supposed to be Johnson’s last stock car season has taken, could he stick around for one more year in 2021?
“I really haven’t put a lot of thought to it. It’s still very fluid at this point,” he said.
“With the hopes of trying to run a full season, I certainly hope that can happen and I can stick to the timeline and schedule that I laid out,” he said. Well just see how things develop over the coming months, honestly.”