ricky rudd set to tie "iron man" record in Richmond. RICHMOND, Va. - NASCAR has seen a lot of changes since the running of the first race of the 1981 season at Riverside International Raceway. Drivers have come and gone, new champions have been...
ricky rudd set to tie "iron man" record in Richmond.
RICHMOND, Va. - NASCAR has seen a lot of changes since the running of the first race of the 1981 season at Riverside International Raceway. Drivers have come and gone, new champions have been crowned and the sport has grown by leaps and bounds. But there has been one consistency since that day; Ricky Rudd has been in the starting lineup of every event.
The NASCAR Winston Cup veteran is set to tie one of the biggest and most prestigious records in all of motorsports this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, when Rudd will become NASCAR's newest "Iron Man." The Pontiac Excitement 400, coming at the track Rudd collected his most recent victory in September of last year, will mark the 655th-consecutive race the driver of the No. 28 Havoline Ford Taurus will start.
"I'm very proud of this record," Rudd said. "To me, it says that I've worked hard and have been determined to do what I'm hired to do each week. Hopefully that says something good about me personally. I love racing and am very proud to be known for such a long run of consecutive races."
When Rudd makes the start at Richmond, he will tie Terry Labonte's previous record. Labonte ran 655 consecutive races from 1979 through 2000. Rudd will then own the record outright when he and the Robert Yates Racing team head to Lowe's (Charlotte) Motor Speedway for the annual Coca-Coal 600 on May 26.
"The Richmond and Charlotte areas are very special places to me," Rudd said. "I've lived in either the Chesapeake, VA. or the Charlotte area all my life, so these are my two home tracks. I really couldn't think of any better places for me to earn this accomplishment."
Rudd made his first career Winston Cup start in 1975 and has amassed 741 total starts, ranking fourth all time behind NASCAR legends Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882) and Darrell Waltrip (809). In the span of those 655 races since the streak started, Rudd has won 22 events, ranking him 19th on the all-time Winston Cup victories list. He has also racked up 176 top-five finishes and earned 27 pole positions. Impressively, since 1981, Rudd has an average finish of 15th and a starting position of 13th. "This record and my 16-season consecutive win record are very important to me," Rudd said. "My fans were able to brag for years that we would get a win and they also knew that we would be there working hard to be present on race day. I have a lot of pride in these two records." Rudd has racked up the miles during his streak, completing 192,873 laps, which translates into 234,866 miles run. That would require 78 Havoline Oil 3,000-mile changes and would fall just 4,000 miles short of reaching the moon from Earth. That many miles is also equal to 93,946 laps around Daytona International Speedway and 469,732 laps around Bristol Motor Speedway.