One day after LeBron’s issues, Jimmie Johnson shares his own cramp tale

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After cramps sidelined LeBron James late in last night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he has been taking heat (no pun intended) from all sides.

But cramps can have a devastating effect on even the greatest of athletes. Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson can tell you that from experience.

The six-time champ, along with his fellow NASCAR drivers, constantly has to keep up with hydration in order to combat the sweltering conditions inside the race car.

When they don’t (or can’t), it can lead to big problems like the one Johnson experienced during a GRAND-AM sports car event at Daytona International Speedway in 2007.

That race took place during the Coke Zero 400 weekend at DIS, and as he was going between his GRAND-AM and Sprint Cup duties, Johnson fell behind on keeping hydrated.

Big mistake.

“We had an electrical problem that took out the drink system in the car,” Johnson recalled today at Pocono Raceway. “And I had to pit maybe 10 minutes before it was time, because I couldn’t push the brake pedal hard enough to get it stopped – I missed the chicane on the backstretch.”

Johnson was able to reach the pits and promptly tried to cool himself down and took some fluids. But that did not prevent him from experiencing what he called a “full-body cramp” that had him crumple to the floor of his motorhome.

“I wish I had a picture of what I looked like – I’m telling you, every muscle in my body locked up,” he said.

Forced to knock his phone off a nearby table, Johnson was able to call Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, whose own motorhome was next door.

Gordon didn’t answer the first time, but luckily he called back and promptly headed over to help Johnson.

“When he came in my bus, it took him two or three minutes to stop laughing at me,” Johnson said. “And then he got me to the care center. Three IV bags later, I felt like myself again.”

Unlike James, however, Johnson was at least lucky enough to have his cramping issues while he wasn’t competing.

As a side note, Johnson appeared to defend the basketball icon this morning on Twitter after noting that he needed to “get some Gatorade in his life“:

F1 2017 driver review: Sebastian Vettel

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Sebastian Vettel

Team: Scuderia Ferrari
Car No.: 5
Races: 20
Wins: 5
Podiums (excluding wins): 8
Pole Positions: 4
Fastest Laps: 5
Points: 317
Laps Led: 286
Championship Position: 2nd

2017 was supposed to be the year Sebastian Vettel finally fulfilled his ambition of emulating Michael Schumacher by returning Ferrari to its championship-winning heyday.

Instead, it ended in disappointment and frustration – once again.

Ferrari arguably made a greater step across the change in technical regulations for 2017 than any other team, living up to its pre-season tag as favorite by winning the opening round in Australia in fashion.

Vettel and Ferrari led their respective championships following the Monaco Grand Prix as the German ended a 16-year win drought for the Prancing Horse in the principality, and even heading into the summer break, a shot at both championships was looking good.

However, cracks had started to appear. Vettel’s remarkable antics behind the safety car in Baku sparked controversy after driving into Hamilton, suggesting the tension of the title fight was beginning to take its toll on the German.

The final run of flyaways was where things really fell apart for Vettel, though. Singapore looked to be a slam-dunk win, only for a start-line crash also involving teammate Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen to put 25 free points in Hamilton’s pocket.

Reliability woes then struck in Malaysia and Japan – two more races Vettel could realistically have won – to make it game over in the title race, with Hamilton wrapping things up in Mexico.

Vettel only finished the year 46 points back from Hamilton, proving the impact the three bad races in Asia had. Realistically, this was a title race that should have gone down to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Instead, Vettel remains a four-time champion, level with Hamilton, who had just one to his name back in 2013 when his rival secured his fourth.

Ferrari’s internal issues will come under the microscope over the off-season, and Vettel himself knows there is plenty to work on. Staying cool under pressure and not letting things boil over as in Baku is the most obvious area for improvement.

But there is reason for hope. If Ferrari can keep up with Mercedes and repeat its impressive step into 2017 through the upcoming off-season, we may well be treated to another Vettel/Hamilton scrap at the front of the field, perhaps settling once and for all who is the greatest driver of the post-Schumacher era.

Season High: A crucial win in Hungary despite battling with a broken steering column.

Season Low: Letting tensions flare in Baku and hitting Hamilton behind the safety car.