Jimmie Johnson first NASCAR driver to test positive

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN.com) 

July 3, 2020 10:37 PM

Through the month of July, the bulk of VSiN’s coverage in this daily report will focus on efforts of team sports to restart or start their seasons. But Friday’s big development was a covid headline in a sport that restarted on May 17.

NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson announced that he had tested positive and would be replaced in this weekend’s Brickyard 400 by teammate Justin Allgaier.

Johnson is the first NASCAR driver to test positive, though non-driving personnel from other racing teams have done so since the restart. More evidence that team sports emphasizing constant contact could have trouble sustaining restarts later this month. Racers aren’t pushing and shoving for hours on end day after day. Johnson contracted the virus anyway.

Team sports are currently showing a lot of discretion regarding formal announcements out of respect for player privacy. There were some general announcements Friday with both good and bad news.

*Major League Baseball and its players association announced 38 positive tests out of 3,185 taken in preparation for its restart. That was considered good news because the positive rate was less than has been seen nationally. Also worth noting that the lack of news from South Korea, Taiwan, or Japan about baseball players testing positive could suggest that an MLB start is sustainable. Not-so-good news:  Reigning American League Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez wasn’t present at Houston Astros’ training camp for reasons the club couldn’t disclose because of league mandates. That’s the current no-so-subtle code for a positive test (unless a further clarification is pending). 

*Kansas football suspended voluntary workouts after a dozen student-athletes tested positive. Friday, the state as a whole reported an all-time one-day high of positive cases to worldometer.com with 846. Just the third time Kansas has topped 500. 

*The St. Louis Blues of the NHL canceled practices after multiple positive tests. Earlier this week, the league announced that Toronto and Edmonton would be the host hubs. Canada has been relatively safe in recent weeks. Getting teams from U.S. cities to Canada with clean bills of health may prove difficult. 

*The Montreal Impact of MLS was reportedly pulled off its Orlando practice field because of a positive player test Friday, just days before the scheduled start of the league’s World Cup style tournament. All MLS competitors are required to show negative test results before arriving in Orlando. A surprising number have tested positive after arriving or spending a few days in Orlando. (Late Friday, The Athletic reported a confirmed positive test for a player on Minnesota United.)

For now, placing futures bets will be dicey given current volatility. Sharps are focusing on long shots on the assumption that they will offer more value in “anything can happen” scenarios. Don’t bet powerhouses for low returns. If your favorite team is a serious contender, you’ll likely get similar or better turns just waiting to back them round-by-round at series prices through the postseason. 

COVID HOT SPOTS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Earlier this week, we took a look at daily state counts in “SEC Country” to give you a sense of the challenge ahead involving launching the 2020 college football season. Room today to run through Friday numbers in four major conferences.

*SEC states: Florida 9,488, Texas 7,343, Georgia 2,784, South Carolina 1,831, Tennessee 1,822, Alabama 1,754, Louisiana 1,728, Mississippi 914, Missouri 617, Arkansas 547. Note that the “true” Texas count was probably over 8K. Three major counties didn’t post data before the Friday evening deadline. 

*Big 12 states: Texas 7,343, Kansas 846, Oklahoma 526, Iowa 223, West Virginia 73. You already know Kansas set a one-day record. Oklahoma’s 526 was its second-worst day ever. 

*Big Ten states: Ohio 1,597, Illinois 937, Pennsylvania 715, Wisconsin 579, Maryland 538, Indiana 528, Michigan 497, Minnesota 414, New Jersey 306, Iowa 223, Nebraska 208. Worries continue about Ohio. 

*Pac-12 states: California 4,509, Arizona 4,433, Utah 596, Washington 404, Oregon 342, Colorado 260. Another state with tardy Friday reporting, California was missing roughly 2K to 2.5K projected new cases from Los Angeles County. Utah is another off-the-media-radar state that bears watching. 

COULD LAS VEGAS CASINOS BE RE-CLOSING?

Rumors started to circulate Friday that Nevada might have to “re-close” Las Vegas casinos because of the contagion. Nevada reported 985 new cases Friday, its second-highest total ever behind last Saturday’s 1,099. But that prior tally included several hundred delayed cases from earlier in the week. Nevada likely set a “true” one-day high Friday. It remains the state with the highest rate of transmission at 1.44 (goal is below 1.0).

More Stories of Interest

*Indiana Pacer Victor Olapido to sit out NBA restart (The Athletic)

*Los Angeles Angel Mike Trout uncomfortable with MLB restart (ESPN)

*NFL Players Union may propose full cancellation of preseason (NFL.com)

*Covid temporarily closes William Hill sportsbook at the M (KTNV)

VSiN Clips/Tweets on Betting Restarts

*Mitch and Pauly on a wide-open NBA championship chase (Follow the Money)

*NHL Insider Brian Burke on NHL goaltending after restart (Follow the Money)

*JVT on the Miami Heat’s defense (The Edge)

*Paul Gutierrez joins JVT for a Las Vegas Raiders NFL Preview (The Edge)

VSiN returns Sunday morning to continue counting down to the restart of team sports in the U.S. 

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