Despite experiencing intense back spasms, Jeff Gordon was determined to take part in the Coca-Cola 600 Nascar race on Sunday.
On Saturday, the Sprint Cup points leader had to cut his practice short, after only 11 laps. He tried to continue, but the pain was too much and he told his crew that he simply couldn’t continue.
Gordon then climbed out of his car and was escorted off the track to receive treatment. Crew chief Alan Gustafson explained that they would not be participating in the final practice session, but would instead be focusing on getting ready for Sunday night’s race.
“It’s unfortunate,” Gordon said. “‘I’ve had some spasms in the past, but this one, it was a little bit different. And so I just want to really be cautious and take care of it. It doesn’t do me any good to be in the car right now.”
Gordon first started feeling the pain after qualifying on Thursday night. “Thursday night after qualifying was when he was feeling the worst. … He did all he could as far as treatment and rest, and whatever is required with hopes today (he’d) be good to go,” Gustafson said.
Had a back spasm during qualifying @CLTMotorSpdwy that reoccurred in practice this AM. Best to rest it 2day & be ready for 600 miles 2moro.
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) May 24, 2014
Gordon had hoped that the pain would subside before Saturday’s practice sessions, but, unfortunately, the pain continued and Gordon explained that it was “everything I could do” to finish the 11 laps. ”Luckily, we had a good 11 laps there and we’ve got our teammates and information that we’re going to be able to gather from them,” Gordon said. ”It’s all coming together very fast right now.”
“It’s really about getting prepared for 600 miles tomorrow,” he continued. “I have no doubts that I can be in this car and be competitive if I just take it easy over the next 24 hours.”
Gordon qualified number 27 for the race that he was won three previous times. The crew hoped that Gordon would at least be able to start the race, and had Regan Smith on standby in case Gordon had to bail out. “He’s extremely tough and extremely dedicated,” Gustafson said on Saturday night. “I know tomorrow he’ll do everything he can to get in and go. … The plan is for him to race.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons