Sports News

Retired NASCAR great Gordon has Le Mans in mind

DAYTONA, Florida (Reuters) - Jeff Gordon, one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all-time, may be recently retired but has not given up on the idea of one day competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race.

Nov 22, 2015; Homestead, FL, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) talks to the media after the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Last year marked the final full-time season on the premier stock car circuit for the three-time Daytona 500 champion but the 44-year-old Gordon is still open to the idea of getting back behind the wheel of a race car.

“I’ve always said that if the right opportunity came along I would like to,” Gordon, who will be a member of Fox’s broadcast team for Sunday’s Daytona 500, told Reuters. “When it comes to competing and racing I don’t take it for granted of what it takes to be competitive.”

When the four-time NASCAR series champion announced early last year that the 2015 season would be his last as a full-time driver, he cited lingering back issues and a desire to spend more time with his family among the reasons for his decision.

But Gordon, whose 93 career Sprint Cup wins puts him third on the all-time list behind Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105), could be racing soon enough if he feels he can offer a team a chance at victory.

“I wouldn’t do any (type) racing if I couldn’t fully prepare for and I couldn’t bring something to that team to enhance the their chances of winning,” said Gordon.

“If I feel healthy enough with my back. Physically fit enough to handle the (high gravity forces) ... make the lap times. It would be definitely be the goal.”

Gordon is also keeping a close eye on Formula One as he is friends with triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and would like to watch the Mercedes driver compete live later this year.

Hamilton attended Gordon’s final race last November and the latter said he would like to repay the 31-year-old Briton at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix in November.

“We’re working out on it,” said Gordon.

“When I saw Lewis the other day I told him I want to repay him (for the friendship). I want to be there in Abu Dhabi - when he wins his next championship or battles for the championship. That’s what I’m working towards.”

Editing by Frank Pingue