RICHMOND, Va. -- Defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson fell ill following Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway and eventually took on five liters of intravenous fluids to treat him for dehydration.
"I just got dehydrated in the car," Johnson said after emerging from the infield care center at Richmond International Raceway, where he received the fluids over about 90 minutes immediately following the race.
"I'm not exactly sure what led to it. We'll have to dig in and see what happened, but it started cramping when I got out of the race car," the six-time series champion said. "And then, when I was cramping, I was trying to stand up because it was hot and I sat down. Then, when I'd stand up, I'd get dizzy, and when I would sit back down, I'd cramp again."
Johnson said nothing about his health over his radio in the closing laps as he drove to an eighth-place finish.
Even when he parked his car and sat inside talking to his crew, he felt fine until the cramps arrived.
"There's something that went wrong today," said Johnson, who is an avid trainer and one of the fittest racers in NASCAR. "It could have been my own nutrition plan. I felt like I came in plenty hydrated. I was warm at the midway point. I didn't feel like my helmet fan was working, so that definitely could be the cause and issue."
Johnson was scheduled to compete in a sprint triathlon for his foundation in the morning. It consists of a 500-yard swim, a 130-mile bicycle ride and a five-kilometer run. He said he has trained lightly this week because of the commitment and will still attend, but will be relegated to watching.
"I'm just floored. Really just a lot of questions right now," he said.