Texas: Ford - Ricky Rudd interview

Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, qualified 16th for tomorrow's Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Rudd, who is in his first season driving for the Wood Brothers, will enter the event ninth in the NASCAR Winston Cup point ...

Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus, qualified 16th for tomorrow's Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Rudd, who is in his first season driving for the Wood Brothers, will enter the event ninth in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings.

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Taurus:

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE RACING WILL BE LIKE ON SUNDAY?

"It's early to tell, but I don't see any black on that second groove. It doesn't look like there's been much racing going on up there, and there certainly isn't much rubber up there. I would say you'd have a better chance racing side-by-side this time simply for the fact that the track has weathered some. Atlanta was a single-groove race track, it weathered and, all of a sudden, the grip wasn't all that great on the bottom so you went to the top. I could see a better chance of that happening here this week than it has in other weeks, but, right now, I don't want to get out of that bottom myself."

HAS THIS FINALLY BECOME A NORMAL STOP ON THE TOUR?

"I'm still amazed that they built this track out in the middle of the country like they've done, and while some tracks are having trouble putting people in the stands, they come here and they sell this place out. I don't know, there are a couple hundred thousand people here at one spot. It's an amazing sight to see this many people. You're used to seeing that at Daytona and places like that, but to come here to Texas and be in the middle of the country to see it, that's great support."

HOW IS THE TRACK RIGHT NOW?

"It still gets your attention, but as the speeds have dropped by two or three miles an hour, it's not quite as bad as it was before. You can tell that the cars don't stick in the corner like they have been. All of that corner grip is kind of what tends to get you nervous if something were to break, but you don't feel all that side load pressure like we have in previous races here. So, I know I'm a little more comfortable here running 190-191 miles an hour than 194."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CARRYING THE AIR FORCE SPONSORSHIP IN THE R?

"I'm really pleased and proud to carry that sponsorship on the hood of our race car. It's a great service and a great organization, especially right now when we've got young men and women fighting the battle for us over there in Iraq. I definitely feel a sense of pride carrying that banner. It seems like the Air Force is really happy being associated with us and we're certainly happy to carry the colors and represent the Air Force."

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE 20 CAR BEING IMPOUNDED?

"The way I look at is, what's that old saying? 'My dog's not in that fight,' so I'm gonna leave it at that. NASCAR is doing its job. They've been stiff on the enforcement of the rules all year long. I know our crew chief is afraid to bring another car to the race track knowing his one car fit the templates and he's afraid to bring something else through the line. Everyone knows how strict they've been and to sit here and think about that really doesn't concern me other than the fact I'm glad our car got through."

KNOWING EVERYBODY IS ON PAR WITH EACH OTHER DUE TO THE RULES, WILL THAT MAKE THE RACING BETTER HERE?

"I don't know. It seems like sometimes the harder NASCAR tries to get things even that opens up an advantage for somebody. NASCAR is trying to get this thing even and we'll see on Sunday. Qualifying is one thing and race speeds are another, so let's see how everything shakes out in the race."

-ford racing-

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup