RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson skipped work Friday following the birth of his second daughter.
Chandra Johnson gave birth at 2:02 a.m. Friday at a Charlotte, N.C., hospital. The baby girl weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.
While mother and baby were fine, they were expected to remain in the hospital overnight so Johnson skipped practice and qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. Regan Smith drove the No. 48 Chevrolet in his place and prepared it for Saturday night's race.
"We did talk about (Johnson) not attending the race," crew chief Chad Knaus said. "It would have had to have been if there was some form of complication or if the baby came later today than we had anticipated. Since she came at a reasonable hour, and Jimmie is going to be able to take the day off, he feels like he's going to be well rested and able to come out here and perform the way he needs to tomorrow night."
Smith participated in a recent test at RIR with the Hendrick Motorsports team and turned a few laps in the No. 48, so he's familiar with the car. It made the decision to have Johnson remain in Charlotte with his family Friday an easy one, Knaus said.