Michigan: Rudd - Ford interview

Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Rent-A-Center Taurus, will set the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series record for career starts at Michigan International Speedway when he takes the green flag for the 57th time on Sunday. Rudd spoke about that and his...

Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 21 Rent-A-Center Taurus, will set the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series record for career starts at Michigan International Speedway when he takes the green flag for the 57th time on Sunday. Rudd spoke about that and his chances this weekend after Friday's first practice.

RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Rent-A-Center Taurus

YOU'RE GOING TO SET THE TRACK RECORD FOR MOST CAREER STARTS WITH 57 ON SUNDAY. YOUR THOUGHTS? "This has been a fun track to come to over the years. I remember the first time I sailed in here about 1977 and, to me, it was just a nice, big sweeping race track that you could have fun on and pass on. I've always done fairly well here. We've got a win in the past and a lot of top fives, but I've always enjoyed the track because it's a big, wide-open track. It's not a follow-the-leader track. It's a track that you can make your own line and make it work. I've always enjoyed coming here for that reason and the fans up here have always supported us well."

HAS THE TRACK CHANGED A LOT? THERE'S A NEW PRESS BOX THIS YEAR, BUT HAS THE TRACK CHANGED? "I would say that when I first came here Michigan was way ahead of its time as far as the facility itself. It hasn't really changed over the years and it's still not behind the times. I tend not to get caught up too much on what goes on outside the race track as far as press boxes and other things, but I look at the race track itself and the surface and they've done a good job over the years keeping this race track in great shape. The winters have got to be harsh, but yet we always come back and the asphalt is good. If it's not good, they re-pave it and they put down new asphalt. They've always had a first-class facility here."

HOW IS YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND AFTER ONE PRACTICE? "We kind of hung out somewhere around 17th spot most of the session. Some of the guys elected to put their car in a blocked off qualifying trim early. We did not, so I'd say right now we're a top 15 car. I hate to make predictions better than that. We need to be a little bit better. We're not the best and they're working on it now. It's not bad. I feel like it's an eighth to 15th place car on a long run - not necessarily one lap - but it can be better and I'm sure Fatback will get it tuned up by race day."

CAN YOU TAKE THIS WEEKEND AND LOOK AT IT AS A NEW START AND NOT THING ABOUT ALL THE BAD LUCK YOU'VE HAD SO FAR THIS YEAR? "What we've got is exactly that (a new start). I'm not saying that the tire problems last week was all of Goodyear's. I'm sure our team will take some responsibility for it on aggressive setup, but I don't think it's necessarily aggressive camber, it's some other issues. But the main thing is that the car has been competitive on the race track. We ran well enough to run fifth last week and it's been like that week in and week out. It just seems like it's been one thing after another that has been biting us. It's not like we have to completely overhaul the team and get rid of everybody and start over again. The team is solid, we just need to quit having such nonsense little things bite us when we're having a good run."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup