Gordon content to leave behind stress of Daytona

Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:42pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Navigating the high-stress, white-knuckle test of the Daytona 500 will not be missed by Jeff Gordon, who nonetheless relishes the chance to launch his farewell NASCAR season with another Speedway triumph.

The four-time NASCAR series champion and three-time Daytona winner has said this will be his final full-time season on the premier stock car circuit and last Daytona 500.

"Spectators need to understand how white-knuckle an experience it is, how mentally draining and how not fun it is," Gordon told Reuters earlier this month while in New York to promote dental care for underserved children.

"I would rather watch those races than participate in them."

That is, after this year's run.

Nothing would please him more than stepping away as a winner, and he put himself in prime position by claiming the pole position for Sunday's race. [ID:nL4N0VP0KO]

"All I want to focus on is winning the Daytona 500," he said about the 57th edition of The Great American Race.

Gordon, one of NASCAR's most popular drivers, said his decision to step away was based on several factors including lingering back issues, who would take over his car and spending more time with his wife and children.   Continued...

Feb 18, 2015; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) during practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports