Veteran driver Jimmie Johnson is taking part in his final full-time NASCAR season and has hopes of adding more wins to his career resume. He entered Sunday's race at Bristol Motor Speedway facing a 102-race winless streak and immediately dealt with technical difficulties. His drink system was not functioning.
Reporter Bob Pockrass tweeted about the issue as the race began. He revealed that Johnson's in-car hydration system was not functioning, which meant that he could not ingest any fluids in the same manner as other drivers. Instead, Pockrass said Johnson could potentially rely on water bottles during the race. However, he would continue racing in search of a win during the Supermarket Heroes 500.
There have been many questions over the years about NASCAR drivers and how they fuel their bodies during more than three hours of racing. Johnson actually spoke to the Orlando Sentinel prior to the 2015 Daytona 500 and explained how he drinks Gatorade while driving. He also revealed that he eats snacks during events.
"And I do eat in the car and drink. Gatorade has invented a really cool hydration system that's in the car," Johnson said. "It keeps my Gatorade cold. I keep a little glove box on the side. Different bars. Something with some sugar in it for energy.
"If I really need something to eat, they can hand in something through the door and, believe me, I've had a sandwich or two passed in over the years. On the pit stops, when they're changing the right-side tires, they'll put stuff on a pole and hand it through the door and I'll get it in the car and run."
Considering that the drivers headed onto Bristol Motor Speedway on a sunny, 74-degree day, there were concerns about the heat and its impact on the drivers. Having Johnson's drink system malfunctioning only added to the concern. One reason is that the stock cars do not have air conditioning systems, and the temperatures inside can reach 120-160 degrees.0comments
The NASCAR drivers have ventilation tubes blowing on them during the races. They also sit on a bag that pushes cool air up from the seat. These measures only lower the inside temperature by roughly 10 degrees, but the drivers appreciate them. They also adjust to the blazing heat.
"It's weird to say you get used to 140-degree temperatures, but you're focused," driver Joey Logano said, per USA Today. "If I was just sitting there baking and not doing something, it would be horrible. But I think because you're racing — you're driving — your mind's off of it. You're not thinking about it much."