Previously paired for the 2000-2002 seasons, Ricky Rudd and Robert Yates Racing on Monday will announce the driver and car owner will again become an item for the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

Rudd will take over the driving duties vacated by 1999 Cup champ Dale Jarrett at the end of the 2006 season, joining David Gilliland, who will drive the No. 38 M&M's RYR Ford

Previously with RYR Rudd would score three Cup wins and finish each of those seasons in the Cup's top-10 year-end points tabulations.

At the end of the 2002 season the 50-year-old, 31-year NASCAR veteran left RYR for the legendary Wood Brothers, ultimately ending a three-year run with that team at the Nov. 20, 2005 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Named Cup's 1977 Rookie of the Year, the Chesapeake, Va., native holds a record 788-consecutive race starts from 1981-2005; had won at least one Cup race for 16 consecutive seasons and ranks among NASCAR's all time top-50 drivers.

Among Rudd's 23 career wins is the 1997 Brickyard 400. The driver also has 29 career poles to his credit.

Though many would claim Rudd's 2005 season ended with his retirement, the driver claimed he never used the term.

"I myself never used the word 'retired,'" Rudd said after testing a Rolex Series Daytona Prototype in late-May at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

"I wanted to take a year off and see what happens."

That year having been completed, Rudd's going racing with a newly fired-up Robert Yates Racing organization which is hell bent on reclaiming past glory that led to 57 wins since the team fielded its first car in 1989.

-DC Williams, exclusively for