INDIANAPOLIS — Jimmie Johnson had a rough go of it last weekend in Long Beach. His practice crash in Turn 5 on Friday caused a broken bone in his hand. His status for the rest of the weekend remained uncertain. Luckily, he got the clearance on Saturday morning to return to his seat to give it a go with a new carbon fiber brace to help alleviate the pain. Depending on how that session went would decide his fate for qualifying and the race.
Johnson, had no pain and was able to keep going. While he found the Turn 1 tire barriers, he was still okay and cleared to qualify his No. 48 Dallara-Honda. His only hesitation was, did this affect his Indy 500 plans?
While he loves being a full-time NTT INDYCAR Series driver, he desperately wants to race the Indy 500 next month. He didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks to potentially take him out of the running. In saying that, there’s also a test next week. Could he injure this further in Long Beach? He was willing to sit the race out if needed. That’s why he didn’t want to take any risks, but they found that no risks were going to further injure his hand.
So, he raced and then had outpatient surgery on Monday to ensure that he’ll be able to keep competing. That means taking part in next week’s two-day test as well as racing at the Barber Motorsports Park at the end of the month.
Johnson, looked like the Jimmie Johnson of old in Texas, a superspeedway somewhat similar to Indy. He finished in the top 10 that day. That had him feeling confident for the Indy 500. He said, “why not” when asked if he could win.
In a video he shared on Saturday night before Long Beach, he said that he feels like he can’t win yet on road or street courses but truly believes he can win Indy.
Luckily, this injury won’t hinder that.