Charlotte: Ricky Rudd preview



CHARLOTTE, NC (May 22, 2007) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600. Following his best finish of the 2007 season in last weekend's NEXTEL Open, Ricky Rudd and crew head into the season's longest race confident that they have a solid race car for the Coca-Cola 600 and aim to beat the fifth-place finish they achieved during the NEXTEL Open. Rudd will be running a Snickers Dark paint scheme on his #88 Ford for the second consecutive weekend in lieu of his traditional Snickers paint scheme.

Quoting Snickers Dark Driver, Ricky Rudd:

When trying to set up your car, what do you and the team focus on coming into the Coca-Cola 600?

"I think our car was pretty decent last weekend for the NEXTEL Open, but we just had a really tight race car and that was the only thing holding us back. I think the big thing for this weekend is that a lot of the guys were also fighting a tight race track last weekend, but we get to come back this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600 with a little more knowledge about how to adapt to the changing track conditions. The tough thing about these evening races is that you go out and practice during the day, during the heat of the day, but then by the time the race rolls around, you're under very different track conditions. I really think though that we have figured out a good balance for the this weekend thanks to our testing efforts."

What do you think the biggest challenge is heading into the longest race of the season?

"I've always enjoyed this race because I look at it as an endurance race. A lot of guys who have never completed 600 miles are pretty shocked the first time they run this race just because it seems to go on and on. It really takes a lot of discipline because you have to remember that the track is going to change on you a few times during that night while you're racing. There's really a big change in the track right when the sun starts to set. Due to that change, the crews have to build a lot of adjustability into the cars that we race for the Coca-Cola 600 because so much can change in the five hours that we're out there racing."

Quoting Snickers Dark Crew Chief, Butch Hylton:

How are you feeling heading into the Coca-Cola 600 weekend?

"I really like this race a lot. Granted it's the longest race of the season, but I see it as a lot of time out on the track for us to shake out the car and really diagnose any issues that we might face during the course of the race. It also is a nice feeling knowing that we're locked in for this race due to our driver point standings because I feel that we have a very fast car, but I'm sure that every team is going to have fast cars this weekend."

-credit: ryr

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Series NASCAR Cup