LONG POND, Pa. (AP) – Jeff Gordon has ruled out surgery on his aching back and hopes the daily treatments he receives at the track will ease the pain he’s felt for more than a year.

The four-time Sprint Cup series champion said he may opt instead for a repeat of a procedure he had last month, which typically calls for an injection of lidocaine or anti-inflammatory medication. He said that may take place in four to six weeks.

“Surgery really hasn’t been an option,” Gordon said after a steady downpour Friday washed out qualifying for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.

He added surgery was “too invasive, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”

It’s been a tough week for Gordon and his achy back. He wrecked during qualifying last week at Dover, and pulled out of Tony Stewart’s charity race in Ohio earlier this week to give his body a rest. Stewart’s race ended up being postponed by rain.

Gordon got an unexpected break with Friday’s rainout, meaning the lineup for Sunday’s 500-mile race will be determined by driver points. Gordon will start second next to points leader Stewart, whose second-place finish at Dover allowed him to leapfrog Gordon into the top spot.

“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” Gordon said. “For us, it worked out well – we got an extra day of rest, got a great starting position.”

For now, Gordon is focusing on physical training and stretching. He started a new hour-long routine at the track this year that includes an ultrasound and a massage at the start of his day, and an ice pack on the back at day’s end.

“It doesn’t happen overnight or just flip a switch,” Gordon said. “Just gradually getting used to the stuff going on in the car and getting stronger and getting better.”


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