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Jeff Gordon Fan
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News: Jeff Gordon Endures Back Pain In Coke 600 - MRN.com

Jeff Gordon, climbing into his car before Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, endured back pain to finish seventh. (Photo: Getty Images)
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CONCORD, N.C. - For all that Jeff Gordon has done in his career and this season with leading the points and winning a race, he still felt he needed to earn his team’s respect.
“I don’t know if they necessarily think that I’m that tough,’’ said Gordon, who once won a Southern 500 after puking in the car. “I think they think I’m a good racecar driver and give them good feedback. I don’t know if they knew how tough I was or how committed I was to what they do.’’
He showed his team Sunday withstanding back pain to finish seventh in in the Coca-Cola 600 and extend his streak of consecutive starts to 737 races, longest among active drivers.
Crew chief Chad Knaus, a member of Gordon’s crew in the 1990s, said what Gordon endured Sunday will resonate with his team.
“When a crew guy sees something like that, it automatically knocks you to the next level,’’ Knaus said. “That level of respect that you have for somebody when you’re ingrained with them and you see the pain and the desire and what it is they put into it, you get it. I think his guys - not that they didn’t respect him before - have a new appreciation of what it is he does.’’
Saturday morning, there were questions of if Gordon would race in the 600. He climbed out of his car after 11 laps in Saturday morning’s practice session and didn’t practice in the afternoon.
“The toughest thing was getting out (Saturday), knowing the kind of pain I was in, knowing that if I stayed in (the car), I was only going to do myself more harm,’’ Gordon said. “That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.’’
Gordon admitted that he was “not very optimistic” after he awoke Sunday morning that he would race because his back was so stiff.
He felt better after receiving treatment Sunday morning and sat in his car about four hours before the race. He pushed on the brake and clutch. He turned the wheel to see how he’d feel.
“I thought I was going to be OK,’’ Gordon said.
Gordon said his back “flared up” one time when he hit the brakes entering Turn 1. He fought through the pain.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen after that,’’ Gordon said. “It settled down. I was aching in there.’’
Gordon, who has a history of back issues, said his back hurt him Thursday during qualifying. He attributes the pain to his crash in last weekend’s All-Star race and the long time he was out of the car Thursday from practice to qualifying.
“I have a tendency of getting tight,’’ Gordon said. “That’s something I work on a lot during the week and race day, staying loose, and that’s not something I work as hard on on qualifying day. That’s something I’m going to have to look into.’’
Gordon, who has some “slight” bulging discs in his back, said he thought that sitting in the hauler for a few hours made his back “super tight.’’ Gordon said when he went to make his qualifying run in the first round Thursday, “those tense tight muscles and me pushing the brake and turning the wheel, it just flared up.’’
Gordon qualified 27th.
It didn’t take him long to move forward Sunday and he was in the top 10 before the 60th lap. He had one of the stronger cars throughout the race, running toward the front.
He was in the lead late after a critical pit call.
Crew chief Alan Gustafson had his team change only two tires on Gordon’s final stop with 26 laps left. The move made one wonder if history would repeat. Ray Evernham’s call for two tires on the final stop helped Gordon score his first career Cup win in this race 20 years ago.
“When we took the two tires and Alan said, “Drive the wheels off of it,’ I knew exactly what he was saying,’’ Gordon said. “That was reminiscent of what Ray told me when won this race the first time. I thought that was going to make for a pretty good story.’’
Gordon liked the call considering he’s already won a race and is all but assured a spot in the Chase and that he likely wouldn’t have had a chance to win with four tires.
Things changed when Alex Bowman brought out the caution on Lap 379 and bunched the field. Gordon couldn’t hold the field and his car got tight, costing him spots late.
Now it’s on to Dover. Gordon said he’s not worried about his back at that physically demanding track.
“The one thing we didn’t have this weekend was time,’’ he said. “Now, having some rest and being able to take it easy and do my normal therapy, I should be fine for Dover.’’
 

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Jeff Gordon Fan
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25,901 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glad Ray made light of Jeff throwing up in the car and Jeff winning in another article. It is about time Jeff is giving some respect for being a tough person who battles. If Jeff wasn't he wouldn't have the Championships and the wins. Jeff proves you can both be nice and have the wins.

Although the pics I saw from the weekend Jeff looked like hell appeared to be in a lot of pain. Ingrid needs to give Jeff some TLC!!!!!o_O Maybe that was what caused the back spasms.
 

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CraZyGordoManiac
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1,351 Posts
You have to be tough to sit on those cars for 4 hours especially when it's hot.
Well as DW said the other night, the warmth inside that racecar coupled with the way those seats are made must have made things very do-able if not comfortable. The slight twisting and turning he had to endure probably made things tough but with the heat inside the car, the muscles that were tense were more relaxed than say if it was a race in November at Charlotte.
 
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Premium Member
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It had to happen to him at the longest race of the year. I just hope he didn't over do it and he takes care of it. I want the consecutive streak to continue, but if he needs to miss a race, then he needs to miss it.
 

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Hobbyist Extraordinaire
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1,406 Posts
You can't NOT be tough as a Sprint Cup driver anymore. Jeff is the man, always has been.

On a related note, I thought it was funny watching Jimmie Johnson eating a sandwich in the car right before a restart. Reminded me of Dick Trickle smoking cigarettes.
 

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Baltimore Orioles CraZy
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5,304 Posts
With the season Gordon is having and considering how old he is there is no way he is getting out of that car. This might be his last chance for a championship and I can't see him throwing that chance away.


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