J.J. not planning to wear finger brace

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Three-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson didn't wear a brace in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout and doesn't plan to wear one in Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, Sunday's Daytona 500 or any practice sessions.

Johnson cut tendons in the middle finger on his left hand last month at the Rolex 24 trying to cut a hole in his fire suit. He has gradually worked down the size of the plastic brace for off-track activities, but none is small enough to wear with a safety glove.

"I wear a brace at night so when I'm sleeping I don't roll over and bend my finger back and hurt the tendon," Johnson said before Wednesday's first practice at Daytona International Speedway. "I whacked my wife in the head with it the other day.

"I clobbered her. She came swinging back, too."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.