It became obvious after yesterday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway that NASCAR drivers exert a lot of effort and have to be in good shape in order to perform their best across 500 miles of racing. Looking wiped out after conducting some interviews, winner of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Jimmie Johnson, was taken to the infield care center to be treated for dehydration straight from victory lane.
It was no secret that the seven-time champion and 41-year-old driver for the no.48 car of Hendrick Motorsports was displaying his finest and most intense racing skills yesterday. However, that undoubtedly came at a price, and he had this to say:
“What a tough track and tough conditions… Oh, it was hot in there. I got cooked in the car today. I didn’t have any fluids so I’m not feeling the best.”
– Jimmie Johnson
Johnson is definitely not unfit by any stretch of the imagination, and he certainly looks after himself as all the drivers do in NASCAR in order to withstand challenging conditions within their cars in extremely long races. Climbing from his Chevrolet on Victory Lane though, Johnson looked exhausted as a towel was placed on his head and he was peeled from his fire suit. Shortly after his time on Victory Lane, he was then given 3 bags of IV fluid at the medical center.
The problem was said to be a broken air flow system within the car. Furthermore, Johnson’s team mate, Dale Earnhardt Jr and driver of the no.88 car was also complaining about a similar issue. With temperatures in Fort Worth reaching 80 degrees on track (26 degrees Celsius) and even hotter inside the car – the broken air flow system was something that Johnson especially could have done without. Just to add insult to injury, it was also reported that the way in which fluid is delivered to Johnson’s helmet wasn’t working either.
“I started cramping pretty good on my left side, my chest and my biceps, my forearm, and I knew I was real low on fluids. And I got out of the car, and I was OK, certainly hot, but then again, when I started doing some other interviews in Victory Lane, big muscles started cramping.”
– Jimmie Johnson
Driver JJ Yeley was also treated for dehydration following the race.
It’s easy to forget and dismiss just how physically taxing these 500 mile races can be. In order to withstand the physical challenges, drivers – like any other athletes – have to be in good shape in order to race at their best. They need to concentrate and overcome physical and mental exhaustion after practically cooking for 4 hours inside a 200 mph metal oven. No doubt drivers, and especially Jimmie Johnson, will be looking forward to having next weekend off to recover and recuperate.