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After two negative COVID-19 tests, Jimmie Johnson cleared to race

Jimmie Johnson chronicles how his parenting experience has changed after he and his wife's positive COVID-19 tests, as NASCAR President Steve Phelps reassures drivers, teams, and fans that protocols in place are working.

After missing last weekend’s Brickyard 400 because of a positive COVID-19 test, Jimmie Johnson medically has been cleared to return to competition, Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday morning.

Johnson will drive his No. 48 Chevrolet in Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1).

Johnson tested negative twice this week – on Monday and Tuesday – and was cleared by his physician Tuesday evening in accordance with NASCAR guidelines. A Hendrick release said Johnson never experienced symptoms.

Justin Allgaier drove the No. 48 in the Brickyard 400 and finished 37th after being involved in an early crash on pit road.

“My family is so grateful for the incredible love and support we’ve received over the last several days,” Johnson said in a team release. “I especially want to thank Justin Allgaier for stepping in for me at Indy and being a true pro. I’m excited about getting back to business with my team this weekend.”

Hendrick Motorsports said four crew members were tested for COVID-19 after Johnson’s positive result. All four had negative results.

The No. 48 team will have its regular personnel roster for Sunday’s race.

Johnson’s positive test was announced last Friday, making him the first NASCAR driver to test positive for COVID-19. Johnson was tested last Friday after his wife’s Wednesday test returned positive.

Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was the first Cup race the seven-time champion has missed in his full-time career, which began in 2002.

Johnson fell from 12th to 15th on the playoff grid after missing Sunday’s race.