Skip to content

Jeff Gordon on back problems: “I wouldn’t say I’m 100%”

May 30, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT

Fedex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks - Qualifying Getty Images

Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon gutted out the Coca-Cola 600 despite dealing with back spasms, and he’s set to do it again this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Gordon, who won at Kansas earlier this month to secure a place in the Chase Grid, noted that while he’s still feeling residual effects after NASCAR’s longest race, he’ll be good to go for the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.

“I wouldn’t say I’m 100%,” said Gordon, who does have a degenerative disc and needed an epidural and a Cortisone shot for treatment last week.

“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.”

Nonetheless, the four-time Cup champion indicated that the matter was a wake-up call to him – not just regarding his conditioning but about possibly being forced to hang up his helmet.

“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,” he said. “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].”

But despite talk of the R-word, Gordon is having none of it. While not annoyed by such chatter, he insists his focus is on remaining as consistent as he has been on the track and contending for a fifth Cup title this fall.

“I think that if anything, [the 600] only built more momentum for our race team to go through what we went through, he said.

“And to go have that kind of a race – to show the team what kind of determination I have as well as kind of show our competitors that it’s going to take a lot to get us down – I think that did more good for us for this season and our chances for a championship than anything else.”

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR: Tony Stewart 10th in first Cup practice at Atlanta; Edwards fastest

    Aug 29, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Oral-B USA 500 - Practice Getty Images

    Following an emotional press conference this morning, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion got back to work.

  2. How NASCAR determined Tony Stewart was ready to race again

    Aug 29, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/John Bazemore) AP

    HAMPTON, Ga. — Tony Stewart didn’t just wake up Friday morning and decide he was going to return to NASCAR racing. Rather, NASCAR officials required that Stewart followed procedures and protocols that included him being evaluated by outside professionals.

  3. Helton: Tony Stewart still eligible for Chase, but must win to get in

    Aug 29, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT

    helton atlanta 2014 -- 2 Getty Images

    HAMPTON, Ga. – Tony Stewart is still eligible to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, NASCAR president Mike Helton announced Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But for that to happen, Stewart must win one of the next two races to get in.

  4. Full transcript of Mike Helton press conference at Atlanta

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:47 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images) Getty Images

    HAMPTON, Ga. — NASCAR president Mike Helton spoke with the media an hour after Tony Stewart read his self-prepared statement Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  5. Sheriff: Stewart crash investigation to continue “for at least another 2 weeks”

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart Getty Images

    Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero makes his first statement on the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. crash investigation since Aug. 12.

  6. Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick glad to see boss, teammate and friend Tony Stewart back in race car

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

    HAMPTON, Ga. – Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch are fully in support of their boss, Tony Stewart, being back in a race car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  7. Full transcript of today’s Tony Stewart press conference

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:27 PM EDT

    Oral-B USA 500 - Practice Getty Images

    After reading from a prepared statement, Stewart left to prepare for Sprint Cup practice this afternoon. Stewart Haas Racing executive VP Brett Frood then took questions from the assembled media.

  8. IndyCar: Power paces first Auto Club practice

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

    Auto Club Speedway - Day 1 Getty Images

    Will Power on top in opening MAVTV 500 practice session.

  9. Tony Stewart: ‘This is a sadness and pain that I hope no one has to experience in their life’

    Aug 29, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT

    stewart atlanta presser 2014 Getty Images

    HAMPTON, Ga. – A visibly somber Tony Stewart, at times bordering on tears, faced the media and the NASCAR world for the first time in nearly three weeks Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

  10. Grosjean expecting difficult Italian GP for Lotus

    Aug 29, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary Getty Images

    Frenchman hoping to bounce back to form at the Singapore Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.

  11. Nationwide Insurance gets early start on Dale Jr. primary sponsorship

    Aug 29, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    NWI will sponsor Earnhardt and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy at Richmond, and will reveal its 2015 paint scheme for NASCAR’s most popular driver next week on social media.

  12. Ricciardo full of praise for Daniil Kvyat after an impressive debut season

    Aug 29, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Race Getty Images

    Kvyat has impressed the entire F1 community after a mature start to his career.

  13. Denny Hamlin rocks out to Taylor Swift for no apparent reason (VIDEO)

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT

    (Photo: Jerry Markland/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Not something you see every day: Denny Hamlin lip syncing to Taylor Swift.

  14. Hamilton: Mercedes must now rise as a team

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium Getty Images

    Briton says that he shares a “deep foundation” with Rosberg despite their differences.

  15. The most memorable moments of IndyCar 2014 (so far)

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe AP

    Needless to say, we haven’t been bored, folks.

  16. Rosberg apologizes to Hamilton and fans for “error of judgement”

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Nico Rosberg AP

    German driver accepts responsibility for his on-track clash with Hamilton at Spa.

  17. Webber questions Mercedes’ future after Spa bust-up

    Aug 29, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Mark Webber AP

    Former Red Bull driver says that the management at Stuttgart must reel its drivers in to avoid a repeat of the incident we saw at Spa.

  18. Mercedes drivers “remain free to race” following meeting today

    Aug 29, 2014, 8:19 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium Getty Images

    Rosberg apologizes for incident during the Belgian Grand Prix that caused Hamilton to retire.

  19. With nothing to lose, IndyCar title contender Pagenaud charges into Fontana

    Aug 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Simon Pagenaud AP

    Championship or not, a race win on Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra) would mark an important milestone since the Frenchman resumed his IndyCar career three years ago.

  20. As McLaren eyes a big-name signing, Button admits he may be forced to retire

    Aug 29, 2014, 7:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Belgium Getty Images

    2009 world champion could be forced out of McLaren by the arrival of a big name.

Video from NASCAR America

Inside Tony Stewart's return to racing
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2301)
  2. K. Busch (2035)
  3. K. Harvick (1815)
  4. K. Larson (1547)
  5. J. Logano (1408)
  1. R. Blaney (1181)
  2. B. Keselowski (1155)
  3. C. Elliott (1132)
  4. J. Boston (1130)
  5. T. Stewart (1027)