Back Not Slowing Gordon Down
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on May 30, 2014 | 3:30 P.M. EST
"I felt good in the car. I didn’t have any sharp pains. I just had a week of rest and normal activity, lots of ice this week." (Photo: Getty Images)
DOVER, Del. - Jeff Gordon has no concerns about his ailing back this weekend at Dover International Speedway.
Gordon was forced to sit out last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 final practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway after suffering back spasms earlier in the weekend. Although he had Regan Smith standing by as a relief driver, Gordon was able to finish the entire race in fact challenging for the win late until finally settling for a seventh place finish.
While he admits that his back issues are a challenge, Gordon anticipates being able to fulfill his driving duties this weekend at the “Monster Mile.”
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent,” Gordon said Friday after practice at Dover. “I’m back closer to normal, which is just always aggravation and some discomfort. I’m still feeling some of the effects from what I went through last week.
“I felt good in the car. I didn’t have any sharp pains. I just had a week of rest and normal activity, lots of ice this week.”
While Gordon doesn’t anticipate any problems racing this weekend at Dover, he does have to alter his preparation plan in the aftermath of what he experienced last weekend in Charlotte.
“If I don’t stay loose and ice and do other things that keep me loose when I get to the race weekend, what happened could possibly occur again,” he said. “So, that’s the biggest thing I’m focused on; not thinking or focusing on anything else.”
But despite the physical challenges, Gordon has no plans to expedite his retirement from the sport. But he admits the possibility of not having a say in the manner does exist.
“I can tell you if that happens many more times, I won’t have a choice,” Gordon said of his recent bout of back problems.
Gordon has a spot more than likely locked up in the Chase by virtue of his Kansas win earlier this month. He’s started the 2014 season in solid fashion and has been at or near the top of the point standings nearly the entire first 12 races of the campaign.
Continuing to run well, win races and challenge for a fifth Sprint Cup championship are the move prevalent things on Gordon’s mind and retirement is still further down the road despite speculation of when he may actually hang up the helmet.
“That is where my focus is,” said Gordon. “But you guys feel free to ask me all the questions that you want about retirement. I don’t have an answer for you. When the day comes and that decision is made I will be more than happy to share it with you.”
Jeff Gordon will be featured in this week’s MRN “One on One” interview during Sunday’s broadcast of the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks beginning at 12 Noon (ET).