CONCORD, N.C. -- Before Jimmie Johnson hit the track Sunday afternoon to qualify for the DAYTONA 500 and participate in the Clash, he was hitting the pavement in his running shoes.
The 44-year-old driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE ran in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon, finishing 39th out of nearly 900 runners with a time of 1:33:53.7.
It's less than a minute more than his half-marathon time from last year.
“I ran the Daytona half marathon this morning,” Johnson said before the Clash Sunday afternoon. “(It’s) always a great event and certainly one to weigh on my mind as I’m eating all the Christmas candy and holiday things that we do knowing there’s a half marathon out there for me. (It) keeps me a little more honest and in shape. It was a fun day today."
Johnson ran an average 7:10 mile, which was fifth in his age group.
Even though next Sunday will be Johnson's final DAYTONA 500 as a full-time driver, he said that doesn't mean this Daytona Beach Half Marathon will be his last.
“I wouldn’t rule it out. It’s a fun event and I love being here,” Johnson said. “It’s been really cool for me to have this out there during the offseason so that I don’t just sit on the couch every day and get too far out of shape. We’ll see what the future brings, but I hope to have more footraces and two-wheel bicycle races and stuff as I move into retirement.”
Johnson placed fourth overall in Sunday's qualifyer, which sets him up to race in the second Duel on Thursday. He will be start on the outside pole next to teammate Alex Bowman, who finished second in the qualifying race.
Johnson's run in the Clash didn't go as expected, with an accident in overtime damaging his car and placing him 11th overall.