Bumpy Kentucky track is doing Gordon’s back no favors

Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, might be looking at a long Saturday night in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

The pavement at Kentucky Speedway is the oldest of any track that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on and it’s arguably the bumpiest, too. And those bumps are not good for Jeff Gordon’s back.

Gordon, the four-time Sprint Cup  champion, strained his back last month at Charlotte Motor Speedway and has since been diligently following his exercise and stretching regimen to make sure he has no additional problems.

But a visit to this 1.5-mile track isn’t doing him any favors as he prepares for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400.

"This track is hard on everybody’s back," said Gordon. "If they could just repave the front straightaway I think we would be good here. I love the corners. I love the challenges of the grip, the cracks, the bumps and the corners. Those don’t bother us. That front straightaway is pretty absurd. Yeah, it’s going to play a slight toll on my back, but that kind of stuff is not what really bothers my back like what happened at Charlotte."

Gordon was philosophical about the obstacles he and the other drivers face over the course of the season, which stretches from mid-February to mid-November.

"It’s a long schedule," said Gordon. "It is hectic. There is testing. We all have health issues, maybe family and friends that we have to attend to. All of us have obstacles in our life so when you look at a 38-week schedule that you have to be basically at every one of those races and then you have to be on top of your best ‘A’ game."

Gordon still counts himself as a fan of the Kentucky track and he has a huge incentive to win on Saturday night: This is the only track on the entire Sprint Cup circuit where Gordon has yet to win.

"I have thought about it a little bit," Gordon said of the prospect of winning here. "It would be very cool. Most of my energy is spent with do we have a shot at winning at this track. I feel like we have run solid here the last few times we have been here. I feel like as good as our cars are this year that this is probably the most legitimate shot that we’ve had of crossing that one off the list. It would mean a lot. It would be quite an accomplishment and it’s something that I would love to say I have done."