Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
As most of the NASCAR world knows, Jeff Gordon was plagued last weekend by back spasms. Although said back spasms forced him out of the No. 24 machine during practice on last Saturday, Gordon was still able to race in the Coca Cola 600. In fact, Gordon was leading the race with 17 laps to go before eventually finishing the race in the 7th position.
Gordon dealt with back issues’ last year and with them creeping back into the picture this year, retirement talk has begun again. Earlier today Gordon spoke with Marty Smith and he addressed how he is feeling heading into Dover this weekend.
"I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent. I’m back closer to normal, which is just always aggravation and some discomfort. I’m still feeling some of the effects of what went on last week, but I felt good in the car. I didn’t have any sharp pains, so that’s good. I just had a week of rest and normal activity. Lots of ice this week. I was pretty sore on Monday and Tuesday after that long 600, but that’s not totally unusual; but probably just a little bit more than normal because of all that I went through. So, I feel good for this weekend."
Smith also delved into the topic of retirement with Gordon. Earlier this season Gordon spoke of possibly retiring if he were to win his fifth championship in 2014. In regards to retiring due to his back issues, Gordon shared the following thoughts:
"The issues that I’ve had in the past never really were like what I dealt with last weekend. That’s the first time that something like that happened in the car, on qualifying day, into a race weekend. I’ve rolled out of bed and had things like that happen, and that’s just being tight and just not having the muscles with blood flow and being loose, and that’s part of just getting older. So, it was a little bit foreign to me to have that and that’s why I had to get out of the car. The treatment that I had was I had an epidural as well as another type of injection. I don’t know what they call it. It’s some type of Cortisone that’s fairly typical and common. I don’t know all the different stuff that was in there that made the pain go away and helped more of the inflammation, is I think what they were trying to accomplish. So, that’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that on a race weekend. I’ve done that before on a different part of my back that didn’t really do much for me. This one luckily did.I think that it really more pointed toward some things that I have to address throughout a race weekend and how I handle the downtime. I’ve been working a lot harder on my training and riding a bike and exercising and the problem with that is that it tightens everything up even more so than normal. 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 possible occur again. So, that’s the biggest thing I’m focused on; not thinking or focusing on anything else. I can tell you if that happens many more times, I won’t have a choice (regarding retirement)."
2014 has been a clear indication that Gordon still has something left in the tank. 12 races into this season Gordon is the current points leader and also has a victory under his belt. Aside from his win at Kansas, Gordon is having one of the most consistent starts to a season of his career. Retirement may be coming for the driver of the No. 24 machine but I think it’s safe to say everyone would prefer it to be after a fifth championship and not due to an injury.