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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 27: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 27, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson cleared for NASCAR return


Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has been cleared to return to competition. He will drive the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports in this weekend’s Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

After testing positive for COVID-19 Friday afternoon, Johnson did not compete at Indianapolis on Sunday, marking the first time he has missed a race in his Cup Series career. He tested negative twice this week – on Monday and Tuesday – and was cleared by his physician Tuesday evening in accordance with NASCAR guidelines. The driver never experienced symptoms.

"My family is so grateful for the incredible love and support we’ve received over the last several days," Johnson said. "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."

Following Johnson’s diagnosis, four Hendrick Motorsports crew members were tested for COVID-19 with all four receiving negative results. The No. 48 team will have its regular personnel roster for Sunday’s event at Kentucky (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

Johnson, 44, is currently 15th in the driver standings, 46 points above the cutoff for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

Hendrick Motorsports has implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of its team members. They include daily COVID-19 screenings at the team facilities; the separation of facility operations and traveling personnel; split work schedules; stringent face covering and social distancing requirements; and an increased level of disinfecting and sanitization of all work areas.

— Hendrick Motorsports —

AND: NASCAR statement:

Jimmie Johnson has been medically cleared to resume all racing activities.

— NASCAR —