The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

4-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon could retire if back problems don't subside

  • Print

DOVER, Del. - Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon said Friday he will have to retire if he continues to suffer the same, excruciating back pain that he did before last weekend's Coca-Cola 600.

The 42-year-old Gordon is in no hurry to slow down. But he said he hopes he has found some solutions to the back woes that nearly forced him out of NASCAR's longest race. Gordon cut short his practice runs last week because of back spasms and there was some concern whether or not he would be able to race.

Regan Smith was on standby and Gordon needed treatment after the practice session. But he wound up in his familiar seat behind the wheel of the No. 24 and finished seventh, his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races this season.

Gordon knows consistent, shooting pain like he suffered at Charlotte Motor Speedway could drive him toward an early retirement.

"I can tell you, if that happens many more times, I won't have a choice," Gordon said Friday at Dover Motor Speedway.

Gordon had soreness Monday and Tuesday, though that didn't deviate too much from how he would feel after driving 600 grueling miles. He said his back is not at 100 per cent, and probably never will be behind the wheel.

At Daytona this year, Gordon insisted he was serious about considering retirement should he win a fifth championship. He looks every bit a title contender — he has a win and holds the points lead — and gutting out Charlotte proved to his Hendrick Motorsports team "it's going to take a lot to get us down."

Gordon suffered serious issues years ago in his back, specifically his lower spine, and needed anti-inflammatory medication and workouts with a trainer to return to full strength. He drove in pain during a winless 2008 season and briefly contemplated retirement.

For all his back woes, Gordon said he never felt the stabbing pain there like he did last weekend.

Gordon said he'll make adjustments to his race weekend routine to keep his back loose to withstand hours crunched in a stock car. He needs to stay active and not sit during lengthy breaks in practice and qualifying. Gordon sat more than three hours last week between practice and qualifying, a gap that left he believed led his creaky back to a breakdown.

"Once that happened, there was nothing that was going to fix it until I had those injections on Saturday," he said.

Gordon has no standby driver at Dover. He felt fine on Friday. But once inside the No. 24, all bets are off.

"It's just something I continue to learn and push through," he said. "It's no big deal."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - The Floodway Connection

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who are the real Bombers?

View Results

Ads by Google