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Back Spasms Keep Gordon Out Of Car; Backup To Be Ready On Race Day

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 24 2014

Jeff Gordon is hurting. To miss 600? (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Jeff Gordon bypassed Saturday’s final practice session for the Coca-Cola 600 due to back spasms and said Regan Smith would be standing by Sunday in case he needed relief during NASCAR’s
longest race.

“Unfortunately, I had a back spasm the other night [Thursday] in that last qualifying run that I made,” Gordon said. “I’ve been trying to get it worked out by today and I got in the car and it just wasn’t. I made 11 laps and it was everything I could do to do that.”

The 42-year-old Gordon said he’s had some spasms in the past, but this one was a little different.

“I just want to really be cautious and take care of it,” Gordon said. “It doesn’t do me any good to be in the car right now, especially, when the car is as good as it is. It’s really about getting prepared for 600 miles tomorrow. I have no doubts that I can be in this car and be competitive tomorrow if I just take it easy over the next 24 hours.”

Crew chief Alan Gustafson said Thursday night after qualifying was when Gordon felt the worst. He said the four-time NASCAR champion would start Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 and their plan was for him to finish it. Smith didn’t practice the No. 24 Chevrolet on Saturday.

“We’ve tested a lot with Regan and have a really good baseline,” Gustafson said. “Actually, Regan drove our car here during the NASCAR test in November or December, whenever that was. We’re real confident knowing what he’ll need as far as how the car drives. We’ll just spend a little time making sure he can get in there and get comfortable.”

Gustafson described Gordon as “extremely tough and extremely dedicated” and he was sure Gordon would “fight through this as best he can.”

“These guys go through a lot physically and he’s done it over a long period of time,” Gustafson continued. “His body has taken a long toll. It’s amazing he’s in as good shape as he is, and is in as good of condition as he is week-in and week-out.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 24 2014
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