Charlotte II: Ricky Rudd preview

This time Rudd places spotlight on checkered, not green. CHARLOTTE, N.C.-The last time Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Havoline Ford, competed at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he was a winner before the green flag fell. Making his 656th consecutive...

This time Rudd places spotlight on checkered, not green.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.-The last time Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Havoline Ford, competed at Lowe's Motor Speedway, he was a winner before the green flag fell. Making his 656th consecutive NASCAR Winston Cup Series start, Rudd claimed the Iron Man title just by starting in May. This time, however, Rudd is looking at earning his first win at the 1.5-mile oval.

"The Iron Man title is such an incredible honor," Rudd said. "And taking the record at Charlotte made it more special. This track opened doors for me and helped get my career going."

Lowe's Motor Speedway has played an intricate role in Rudd's 27-year Winston Cup career. Rudd continuously credits the October 5, 1980 event at the speedway as the turning-point in his career. With a strong fourth-place finish in that event, Rudd moved from a low-funded family operation to the DiGard Racing team where he first worked with Robert Yates, his No. 28 car owner, and has not missed a NASCAR Winston Cup Series start since.

This Sunday will mark Rudd's 675th consecutive Winston Cup Series start and his 53rd at Lowe's Motor Speedway, extending his Iron Man title and earning him the Iron Man title of the speedway that he has competed at more times than any active driver. He has scored nine top-five finishes here and leads all active drivers with 25 top-10's, three of those from his last four starts. Rudd has won 23 times in his career at 14 different tracks, but has yet to capture a win at Charlotte.

"I've won some big races," Rudd said. "But I know when I look back on my career it won't seem complete without a trophy from Charlotte."

Rudd may be inching closer to his goal as he finished fourth here in May, leading the field twice for a total of 49 laps.

"I like racing at Charlotte and we ran really well last time we were here," Rudd said. "That just makes the team even more anxious to return. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off."

Rudd finished third at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, posting the Havoline team's seventh top-five finish of the season. He also moved up to ninth in the point standings. With six races remaining, Rudd sits 246 points behind current leader, Tony Stewart.

"This team definitely has a few wins left in us, possibly one at Charlotte," Rudd said. "None of us are giving up on the season at hand."

-ryr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Robert Yates