The biggest news out of last weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 from the Charlotte Motor Speedway was Jeff Gordon and his back problems. Many news outlets jumped to the conclusion that Gordon is now going to retire because of the issue and this weekend has been no different.
Various outlets have taken parts of Gordon’s conversation with the media when it comes to retirement and spun it into a sensational story. The reality is Gordon, the current Sprint Cup Series point leader, is not going anywhere any time soon.
Here’s what he said about his back and last weekend in full text, so you can draw your own conclusions:
“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).”
I don’t see him hanging it up anytime soon, especially if he can stay competitive. It is worrisome that his back started having problems out of nowhere. The silver lining is now that it happened he and his team are aware and can work on solutions or ways to prevent it.