FORT WORTH, Tex.–With a second child on the way–and with wife Chandra due around the time the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts in September–Jimmie Johnson knows he’ll have to arrange for a relief driver in case the blessed event occurs on a race weekend.
When Johnson’s daughter Genevieve was born in 2010, Aric Almirola stood ready as a relief driver, but Almirola’s services weren’t needed. After Genevieve was born in July, Johnson went on to win the fifth of his five straight championships that year.
Now with a full-time Cup ride at Richard Petty Motorsports, Almirola won’t be available this year, and Johnson knows he’ll have to make other arrangements.
“We’re not sure who will be available come that time,” Johnson said Friday at Texas. “I was joking with Aric Almirola last weekend that, if he wanted to be my back-up driver again, he clearly has a full-time gig and can’t do it.
“We’ll just have to see, but we will definitely have a plan–like always we will be buttoned up. Our doctor has told me that a father has never missed a birth. That gives me a lot of confidence that I’ll be able to do my weekend job and then be around during the week to meet number two.”