Loudon II: Ricky Rudd preview

Ricky Rudd: "I'm pretty fortunate. I still see the last line on the eye chart, which, I guess, is better than 20/20." This week's questions from the fans cover a variety of subjects, including the New Hampshire set up, the track itself, ...

Ricky Rudd: "I'm pretty fortunate. I still see the last line on the eye chart, which, I guess, is better than 20/20."

This week's questions from the fans cover a variety of subjects, including the New Hampshire set up, the track itself, driver vision and the number of people travel with Wood Brothers Racing on a typical weekend. Driver Ricky Rudd and co-owner Eddie Wood of the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus team give the answers.

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus -- What set up do you use for New Hampshire since it is not a normal speedway? Do you use a short-track set up or a regular speedway set up? "It's a short track. It's a mile, but it drives like a half mile because it is flat."

How has the track at NHIS changed since your win there as an owner/driver? "It is the same race track, but it looks like they have cured the problems there with the asphalt tearing up. That was the biggest problem we would have during the race. They got a handle on that a couple years ago and ever since then the track has been good; the track has held up. The set-ups have changed a lot over the years, but the track hasn't changed a lot since we started running there."

Do you collect die-cast cars of your own race car? "I don't go out and buy them. We usually get a sample of whatever is done and I have a big box they are all in so we should have something for every year. I just don't have it organized right now."

Have you or any of the other drivers had one of the contemporary surgeries to correct your vision? It would not surprise me to learn that all of these guys were just blessed with exceptional eyesight from the day of their birth. "I haven't had corrective surgery. A lot of guys have, I think. My wife Linda had it a couple years ago and it worked well for her. I'm pretty fortunate. I still see the last line on the eye chart, which, I guess, is better than 20/20. I don't see as well up close, so I use reading glasses, but if it's three feet away I'm fine. If it got to the point where I needed them I wouldn't be too proud to wear them."

What brand of sunglasses do you wear? "Maui Jim's."

What type of track do you like to race on -- superspeedway, short track, road course? "I enjoy a mixture. I don't enjoy the superspeedways with the restrictor plate. Everything but that."

Do you still drive and race as hard as you can or do you ease up if you are not in the running for the championship? "I only know one way to race and that is to run as hard as you possibly can in order to win a race. Some days that is good enough and some days it is not good enough. But, I always run as hard as I can, as hard as the equipment allows me to drive."

Have you ever thought about driving in the Baja 1000? "No interest."

Could you tell me what the writing was on your windshield in California? "I don't remember any writing on the windshield. Maybe what you saw was the car before the race with the reflective cover on it to keep it cool. That would have had Motorcraft on it."

Were you the one who developed the 'Tear-Offs'? And, if so, why and when was the first time you used them? "I think the tear-offs on the helmet were developed in open-wheel racing. To me, when you put tear-offs on a regular visor it distorts things, so I end up wearing sunglasses under a clear visor. The early windshield tear-offs also caused distortion. We were probably one of the first to use them, but I can't say we were the first. I'm not sure if it was the tear-offs that created the problem or the lexan used for the windshields back then. There was some poor quality stuff around at that time. You would get some windshields that were really good and some that weren't so good, and it would compound the problem putting tear-offs on top of them. Back then you couldn't wait to get the tear-offs off so you could see again. That isn't the case any more."

Eddie Wood - Owner, No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus -- how many people travel with the team on average, and what kind of hours are spent at the track working on the car? "I think our team probably travels 24 to 28 people a week, counting support on Sundays. That includes scorer, spotter and some people you might not even think about. If it is an impound race, as it was at Richmond, we came in at 7 a.m. on Friday, and we stayed until qualifying is over, so that was about 12 hours. Saturday, the garage didn't open until 3 p.m., but we had access to the hauler at 2 p.m., and, say, the race ended at about 11:30 or so, we were there until the hauler was loaded, so that would be about another hour or so. For the impound races you work harder, quicker so it all kind of evens out."

-wbr-

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Teams Wood Brothers Racing