NASCAR legend turned IndyCar driver Jimmie Johnson suffered a broken right hand after a crash during Friday's practice for this Sunday's Long Beach Grand Prix. According to a report by Nate Ryan of NBC Sports, Johnson's injury occurred when his hand was hit by his steering wheel as it snapped around when the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion hit a tire barrier head-on in Turn 5.
Johnson said that he was wearing a carbon fiber splint on his hand in a video posted to Twitter on Friday, and he confirmed Saturday morning that he had suffered a fracture. IndyCar approved Johnson to participate in Saturday's practice session, where he felt no pain despite another crash with 12 minutes remaining.
After practice, Johnson confirmed that he plans to qualify and race despite his injury.
"Still qualifying today and get through all that, but all indications right now are favorable," Johnson said. "I feel great in the car. I don't have a full grip going, but (IndyCar physician) Terry Trammell is amazing. He knew exactly what to build, how to build it, where to position it. Great communication with him working on the splint."
Johnson, 46, is in his first full-time IndyCar season and second overall after retiring from NASCAR, and he enters Long Beach on a major upswing. The seven-time NASCAR Series Cup champion recently earned his best-ever IndyCar finish with a sixth-place run at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson never missed a race due to injury in his NASCAR career, making 663-straight starts from 2002 before a positive COVID-19 test forced him to miss a race in 2020.
The Long Beach Grand Prix is an important race to Johnson personally, as he grew up in El Cajon, California and attended the race growing up. Johnson finished 17th in his first try at Long Beach last year.