Gordon not retiring any time soon

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon will drive through at least the 2013 season for Hendrick Motorsports, team owner Rick Hendrick said Friday.

There has been speculation that Gordon, who has a lifetime deal with HMS, will retire within the next couple of years. The speculation arose in part because of Gordon's back problems and in part because he wants to spend more time with his family.

"He's committed to at least 2013, maybe 2014," Hendrick said. "I'm hoping he's going to drive a bunch of more years. We know it's going to be at least three or four."

Hendrick said he's also negotiating a new deal with DuPont, the primary sponsor on Gordon's car since he entered the Sprint Cup Series in 1992.

DuPont's contract is due to expire in 2010 and Hendrick said the company will remain on the No. 24 at least for a good portion of the races through the end of Gordon's career.

Hendrick added that he's working on a lifetime deal for Chad Knaus, the crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, who on Friday agreed to a five-year extension through 2015.

Hendrick tried to sign Johnson, who's on track to win an unprecedented fourth straight championship on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to a lifetime contract as well, but "I couldn't borrow enough money to make it work."

"This has been a fantastic ride with Jimmie," Hendrick said. "We'd like to retire together."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.