May 25, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Even though he never went to college, Jeff Gordon is going to give it the old college try in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Gordon managed just 11 laps in Saturday’s first practice and completely skipped the second session later the same day due to back spasms.
Gordon rested and underwent therapy on his back Saturday and Sunday.
As he walked from the driver’s motorcoach lot pit road prior to Sunday’s race, Gordon could be seen on Fox Sports walking somewhat stiffly, tentatively and gingerly. He was attempting to be accommodating and friendly to fans who wanted to wish him well, giving fist bumps to several fans, but it was very clear Gordon was still hurting.
Gordon will start the race and hopes to complete all 400 laps. However, Regan Smith is standing by in the event Gordon cannot go the entire distance.
If Gordon cannot finish the race, he’ll still earn driver points for taking the opening green flag.