Exhausted Johnson transported to infield care center after RIR race

Jimmie Johnson is attended to by team members as he lies on the ground just after climbing from his car following completion of the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night.

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After 400 laps of hard racing around the 0.75-mile Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had to be taken to the infield care center on a golf cart.

Finishing the night in the eighth spot, Johnson reportedly got out of the car under his own power but then had to lay on the ground exhausted from the night’s efforts.

Once on his feet, video on pit road showed the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion had to be held up by multiple people as he draped a towel over his neck with the top half of his driver suit down around his waist.

With his weight supported by others, Johnson laid his head on a crew member’s shoulder.

The visibly shaken Johnson was then placed on a medical golf cart and taken to the infield care center, still with his head down and a towel wrapped around his neck.

Crew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports crew members followed their driver into the infield care center, where Johnson was treated and released for dehydration.

Once he emerged from the infield care center, the Hendrick Motorsports driver said he felt fine while sitting in the car after the race talking with the crew, but started to cramp up in his legs.

"(I) just got dehydrated in the car," he said. "Not exactly sure what led to it we will have to dig in and see what happened. I started cramping when I got out of the race car. Then when I was cramping I was trying to stand-up because I was fine when I sat down then I would stand-up I would get dizzy. When I would sit back down I would start to cramp again. Just really dehydrated. Ended up with five liters of IV in me. I was definitely dry. I will have to dig in and understand what happened in the car. I was hot in the car so I will have to make sure all my fans were working and stuff like that. Scary moment and I hate that it happened, but have to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

One of the most physically fit drivers in the NASCAR garage, Johnson was scheduled to take part in the Lake Davidson Triathlon in North Carolina early Sunday morning. The Lake Davidson Triathlon is a 500-yard swim, 13-mile bike ride and 5k run, and the fourth and final event in the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge. 

After Saturday night’s race and subsequent trip to the infield care center, Johnson said he would now sit out that event. 

"This week has been pretty light just because I’m supposed to compete in an event tomorrow morning," Johnson said of his training routine. "Still going to go and attend, but won’t be able to compete especially with the cramping that I had. Just a lot of questions right now, but I cramped pretty bad there on pit road and got dizzy and light-headed and had to come over here and get a bunch of bags of IV."