NASCAR & Auto Racing

One retiree not in the slow lane, Jeff Gordon ready for another ride at Indy

AP

Jeff Gordon’s racing retirement didn’t last long, although it could have been much shorter.

Gordon is taking a break from retirement this weekend to fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Brickyard 500 in Indianapolis as Earnhardt is out because of concussion-like symptoms.

Gordon, 44, will also drive the No. 88 Chevrolet at Pocono next weekend.

On Friday, while meeting the media for the first time since the move was announced by Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon said he was approached about replacing the injured Tony Stewart in this year’s Daytona 500 – the first Cup race following Gordon’s final race at Homestead in November.

Gordon told reporters Friday he rejected any thoughts of such a quick return due to his new television duties at Fox.

Now that NBC has taken over Cup coverage, Gordon is free to do what he wishes during race weekend.

Gordon said he had been vacationing in France yet planned to attend the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – plans were for him to drive the pace car -- before owner Rick Hendrick approached him about filling in for Earnhardt.

“Honestly, I didn’t even have to think twice about it,” Gordon said.

If Earnhardt needs to miss more time, well, Gordon seems ready to continue on.

“Right now it’s through Pocono,” Gordon said. “We just want him to be there when he is ready and when the doctors say he is ready.”

As for Earnhardt, he sent out a tweet Friday saying he “sensed improvement” for the first time. “Seen small gains during my physical therapy as well,” Earnhardt continued. “Light at the end of the tunnel.”

Associated Press contributed to this report

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