Skip to content

Jimmie Johnson racing with heavy heart after brother-in-law’s death

Apr 5, 2014, 11:52 AM EDT

Jimmie Johnson AP

Prior to beginning the Duck Commander 500 weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson thanked the NASCAR community and its fans for their support following the death of his brother-in-law earlier this week.

27-year-old skydiver and instructor Jordan Janway, who was the brother of Johnson’s wife, Chandra, lost his life after colliding in mid-air with another diver in a training session. His parachute failed to open in the incident.

“I appreciate the opportunity to say thank you to everybody for your thoughts and prayers,” Johnson said to reporters at TMS. “This week has been a very difficult week for the Janway family. It’s been so tough for me to sit back and watch the people I love so much deal with so much pain.

“But, things are progressing and everybody is as good as you could hope. Last night, the family spent a lot of time telling stories about Jordan and smiling a little bit; smiling more than tears, and the healing process has definitely started.”

Johnson noted that he hadn’t had time to think about putting some sort of memorial to Janway on his car or his helmet. He hailed the young man as “a free spirit.”

“Base-jumping and parachuting and wearing the squirrel suits like you see the guys flying along the cliff sides – that’s what he did,” Johnson recalled. “He’s in a lot of those videos shooting that footage. So, it was a tragic death for sure.

“But he was doing something he loved. He was very passionate about it. And he never met a stranger. He was a very warm and caring young man and he’s definitely going to be missed.”

But while he and his family mourn their loss, Johnson is also getting on with the business of racing. So far, he’s yet to visit Victory Lane in 2014 but is the most recent winner at Texas after putting on a dominant run there last fall en route to winning his sixth Cup championship.

A blown tire with seven laps to go cost him the win two weeks ago at Fontana (which went to Kyle Busch), and last weekend at Martinsville, he lost a hard duel with Kurt Busch.

But as Johnson has remained competitive, his confidence has not yet ebbed.

“If there’s a race or two to go and I don’t have a victory, it’s definitely going to change my opinion then, but I’ve built so much over the last 13 years with a certain mindset that myself and the team – we’re just not in the position to change that mindset yet,” he said.

Latest Posts
  1. CFH Racing looks to turn things around once again at Milwaukee

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone 600

    Carpenter and Newgarden look for a rebound similar to the 1-2 finish at Toronto.

  2. Welcome back, Wilson: Englishman back with Andretti for rest of 2015

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    Justin Wilson AP

    Wilson returns for final five IndyCar races of the year with Andretti Autosport.

  3. IndyCar flashback: Power’s dominance at Milwaukee in 2014 (VIDEO)

    Jul 7, 2015, 9:44 AM EDT

    PowerMKEWin AP

    Will Power dominated Milwaukee in 2014. Here’s how he did it.

  4. Coyne drivers Mann, Vautier set to continue in Milwaukee, Iowa

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT

    PippaTexas Getty Images

    Degree of continuity at Coyne, as Mann and Vautier confirmed for next two short ovals.

  5. Hargrove wins twice more in Porsche GT3 Canada at Calabogie

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Scott Hargrove adds two more wins to his record after a one-day sweep of two Porsche races in Canada.

  6. Town or cheese? IndyCar, Indy Lights drivers preview IndyFest (VIDEO)

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:04 PM EDT

    MKEskyline Getty Images

    IndyCar, Indy Lights drivers try to guess towns or cheeses in Wisconsin.

  7. DiZinno: Daytona fence crash ripple effect could extend to other motorsports

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:04 PM EDT

    DillonCrash Getty Images

    The potential ripple effects of Austin Dillon’s catch-fence accident could extend far beyond NASCAR.

  8. Red Bull GRC: Sandell, Dyne deliver Bryan Herta Rallysport first double top-five of year

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:14 PM EDT

    Photo: Bryan Herta Rallysport Photo: Bryan Herta Rallysport

    Sandell, Dyne make it a double top-five for Bryan Herta Rallysport at MCAS New River.

  9. Williams was damned if it did, damned if it didn’t execute team orders on Sunday

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    WilliamsSilverstone Getty Images

    Leading 1-2 early, Williams was almost trapped, rather than able to seize its moment in Silverstone.

  10. Raikkonen drops to P8 in British GP after strategy error

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen skids off during the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.       AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A gamble on intermediate tires backfires for Kimi Raikkonen at Silverstone.

  11. Race Recap: Hamilton sees off early Williams threat and late rain shower to claim third home victory

    Jul 6, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) holds the trophy as he walks in the pits after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Silverstone on July 5, 2015.  
 AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The British driver sends the home crowd into raptures with his third Silverstone victory.

  12. Ten with Townsend: Red Bull GRC 4 races in, post-MCAS New River

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    GRCDaytona Getty Images

    After the latest Red Bull GRC round, we catch up with NBC Sports Group motorsports analyst Townsend Bell for a special Red Bull GRC installment of “Ten with Townsend.”

  13. Smiling Through the Rain: Silverstone proved that it isn’t all doom and gloom in F1

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Fans cheer Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP after his victory in the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Luke Smith gets a little patriotic following his home grand prix, explaining why F1 could stand to be a little more British in its mentality.

  14. Ken Block seizes opportunity, wins Red Bull GRC at MCAS New River

    Jul 5, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    BlockMCASwin Getty Images

    Block wins at MCAS New River, Round 4 of the Red Bull GRC season.

  15. FIA stewards take no action over five-car incident on first lap of British Grand Prix

    Jul 5, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Grosjean, Ricciardo, Maldonado, Alonso and Button all cleared of any wrongdoing after first lap incident.

  16. WATCH LIVE: Red Bull GRC from MCAS New River at 5 p.m. ET on NBC

    Jul 5, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    OMSEdaytona Getty Images

    Before NASCAR resumes on NBC from Daytona, see Red Bull GRC pick up its season from its first race after Daytona, at MCAS New River.

  17. F1 Paddock Pass: British Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

    Jul 5, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    Will Buxton brings you all of the post-race interviews and analysis at Silverstone.

  18. Alonso takes “small joy” from first point of 2015 season

    Jul 5, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 5, 2015 in Northampton, England. Getty Images

    P10 at Silverstone gets Alonso off the mark in 2015.