Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Taurus, moved into seventh place in this season's Winston Cup points race following a second-place finish in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway on Sunday. He trails Tony Stewart by just two points...
Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Taurus, moved into seventh place in this season's Winston Cup points race following a second-place finish in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway on Sunday. He trails Tony Stewart by just two points for sixth place. Rudd has earned 10 top-10 finishes this season.
Ricky Rudd - 28 - Texaco/Havoline Taurus - "It's definitely an exciting race track. Concrete presents its own problems. The most difficult thing about Bristol, it's really one groove wide to race hard in, if you go the second groove it gets really hard to run fast in the second groove, so it's a lot of follow-the-leader, waiting for somebody to make a mistake. It take's a lot a patience there because it is a single-groove race track. And, the way you pass, you just drive, keep waiting for somebody to make mistake or a lot times there's a little nudge that goes on and makes the guy move up the second groove and you move on, and that pretty much happens the entire race, and that's how the flow works.
DOES RACING AT A SINGLE-GROOVE TRACK LIKE BRISTOL AFTER RACING AT MICHIGAN HURT YOUR PREPERATION? "No, it's just a night-and-day difference, just completely different race tracks. You just leave Michigan, you put that behind you and you go to Bristol. You know when you go to Bristol it's going to be a war - it's a survival war, as much as it is anything. If you can survive that race and get to the late stages of the race - what happens is you thin a lot of cars out at Bristol, a lot of them get wrecked and when they get wrecked a lot of them get destroyed. So, as the day goes on, the field gets thinner and thinner, and then you start racing in the last couple of hundred laps, there's more room to race. So it's sort of a survival until you get to the last 200 laps. But as far as comparing it - maybe the emphasis is a little stronger on it, it is such a tight race track, after coming off Michigan, which is an extreme opposite direction. It's not that the track is not wide, it is wide, and you used to be able to pass there when it was blacktop, and you pass now, but it used to be side-by-side racing, hard, and now you'll see side-by side racing but both inside and outside guys had to slow down to run side-by-side."
DO YOU MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO GET YOUR LAPS IN, AND MAKE SURE THE ATTRITION DOESN'T INCLUDE YOU? "You have to go into that race and just say, hey, it is a survival race. But you don't want to run too slow because if you run slow you're going to take a chance of getting lapped - but a lap down at Bristol is not the end of the world. You can come back, and a lot of people do, many laps from Bristol. Again, it's survival. Survival and try to stay on the lead lap. And a lot of times the best place to be is if you happen to qualify well, is out front. The best place to run Bristol is from the first four, five, six cars."
DRIVING AT NIGHT, DOES THAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU APPROACH THE RACE? "No, nothing's different."
WITH A LATE START, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR SCHEDULE? "Well, you just got to pay attention a little bit. The track does change a little bit at nighttime. You end up with more grip at night than you do during the heat of the day, so you just gotta take that into consideration and make sure you don't get your car too tight in the heat of the day, if you get it where the front end is pushing a little bit in the heat of the day, it'll be really bad at night, so you just got to keep that in mind. It's typical for about any night race, it's not something any different at Bristol than it is, say, at Richmond or somewhere else."