Jimmie Johnson’s victory celebration comes with a price

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 09: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, puts the winner's sticker on his car after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

BRISTOL, Tenn. — After his victory two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson was late for his post-race press conference – and with good reason.

Because of a malfunction with his fluid delivery system, Johnson was dehydrated by the end of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Consequently, a trip to the infield care center for IV fluids delayed his appearance in the media center.

During the NASCAR off week over Easter, Johnson took on very different sorts of fluids, in Mexico no less. After all, what good is a well-earned vacation if you can’t celebrate your most recent victory?

“Yeah, the three IV bags did wonders,” Johnson said in a press conference prior to Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET on FOX). “After leaving the media center, I started my off weekend quickly that night and proceeded to chase out the pain with as many margaritas and beers as I could down in Mexico.

“I recovered well, but unfortunately came back sick from Mexico, and I’m just on the tail end of that now. If you are going to play you are going to pay, I guess, at the end of the day.”

What made the trip worth playing – and paying – was a victory that reversed a sluggish start to the season for the No. 48 team. Uncharacteristically, Johnson had posted just one top-10 finish in six races before the Texas win.

“We would have been drowning sorrows instead of celebrating and enjoying it (if the team hadn’t won),” Johnson said. “There’s no better way to go into an off weekend than with a win or a strong run, strong performance.

“We all sit inside of our heads and think about where we’re at, what’s going on. A tricky start to our season, to say the least, and to punch our ticket to the playoffs and get that win made for a great off weekend.”

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