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“:

UPDATED: INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama under red-flag race stoppage due to rain

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UPDATE: The INDYCAR Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is under a red-flag race stoppage after 19 laps due to rain and puddling on the racing surface at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cleaners and dryers are on the track to try and get some of the water off the racing surface. The low spots on the track, as well as the front stretch, have been particularly troublesome and led to several spinouts and at least two wrecks (Charlie Kimball and outside front pole sitter Will Power).

Power’s day is done after suffering irreparable damage to the left side of his car after hydroplaning on the front straight and running into the inside retaining wall.

ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS:

Although rain has been falling for nearly an hour and the Barber Motorsports Park 2.3-mile permanent road course is drenched, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is underway on NBCSN.

The start of the race was moved up from 3:38 p.m. ET to take the green flag at 3:08 p.m. ET.

Josef Newgarden is the defending winner of this race and also will start from the pole for today’s race.

While the race is scheduled for 90 laps, there’s a possibility that if the weather worsens or if lightning appears, it could potentially be shortened to just two hours.

As can be expected, all cars are on rain tires to maximize grip.

Catch the race live on NBCSN.