Earlier, news broke out that Jimmie Johnson tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. So, he promptly pulled out of the upcoming race in Indianapolis for the sake of everyone else’s safety. With Johnson’s withdrawal, Hendrick Motorsports was left without a driver for the weekend.
The good news is that the team has a driver on standby, namely Justin Allgaier. In the process, Allgaier will be the first driver to pilot the #48 car other than Johnson. Prior to that, Trevor Boys drove the #48 Pontiac for Hylton Motorsports for a single race during the 1993 season.
Allgaier’s recruitment makes perfect sense since he races for the Xfinity team, JR Motorsports. As it turns out, Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick, co-owns JR Motorsports, making a move easier.
In other words, the 34-year old is set to partner Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Alex Bowman for Sunday’s 160-lap race. It is worth noting that this is the first time that Allgaier has driven for the team.
Please read. pic.twitter.com/rrBdcQQm4N
— Justin Allgaier (@J_Allgaier) July 4, 2020
What did Justin Allgaier say about his appointment?
In a statement, he declared that he was honored to get the call-up from Hendrick Motorsports to race in Johnson’s stead. On the other end of the scale, he sent his thoughts and prayers to Jimmie Johnson and his family. Justin Allgaier also said that he hopes that the 7-time NASCAR champion will be in a position to return to the cockpit soon.
It is also noteworthy that even though Johnson qualified 4th on the grid in the lottery, Allgaier will have to start at the back. This is likely because the positions are decided according to where the drivers are placed in the championship.
Jimmie Johnson was in the top 12 in the championship, thus eligible for the lucky draw. Unfortunately, Allgaier does not enjoy that same privilege, so he has a huge mountain to climb ahead of the race. In the statement, NASCAR confirmed that they granted him a playoff waiver. So hopefully he is able to return soon and continue his bid for an 8th Cup Series championship.