Racing will be a welcome respite for Jimmie Johnson and his family after a difficult week following the death of Johnson’s brother-in-law in a skydiving accident.
Jordan Janway, a Muskogee native and the brother of Chandra Janway Johnson, died in the accident Monday in San Diego after a mid-air collision with another diver prevented Janway from opening his parachute.
Janway was an experienced skydiver and instructor, having completed more than 1,000 jumps.
“He was a free spirit,” Johnson said. “He was a very adventurous guy — base-jumping and parachuting and wearing the squirrel suits, like you see the guys flying along the cliff sides, that's what he did. He's in a lot of those videos shooting that footage.
“A tragic death, for sure. But he was doing something he loved. He was very passionate about it. He never met a stranger, very warm, caring young man and he’s definitely going to be missed.”
Johnson, who was fastest in the first Sprint Cup practice session Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, said it has been difficult to transition into racing mode.
“This week has been very difficult for the Janway family. It's been so tough for myself to sit back and watch the people I love so much deal with so much pain,” Johnson said.
“Things are progressing and everybody is as good as you can hope. Last night, the family spent a lot of time telling stories about Jordan, and smiling a little bit, smiling more than tears. The healing process has definitely started.”
KURT BUSCH’S CAR CATCHES FIRE IN PRACTICE
After what appeared to be a tire problem, Kurt Busch’s car slammed the wall and slid to a stop near Turn 4 with flames shooting from under the hood.
Busch was uninjured, but the team will have to switch to its backup car Saturday for the final round of practice and the qualifying session.