Ricky Rudd Richmond preview

Richmond, Va. - Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford, will be a bit more apprehensive than usual Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Returning to his home state of Virginia to race the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400,...

Richmond, Va. - Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford, will be a bit more apprehensive than usual Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Returning to his home state of Virginia to race the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400, Rudd has many old and new fans supporting him, giving him good reason for a few pre-race jitters. "I feel as much pressure racing in Richmond as I do in the Daytona 500," Rudd said. Born in Chesapeake, Va. in 1956, Rudd enjoys returning to his home state despite the obligation he feels to perform well in front of the fans who watched him grow and excel in racing from the very beginning. Aside from all the friends and family he had growing up in Virginia, he made many more in 1979 when he was driving for owner Junie Donlavey. "When I was driving for Junie, who is based out of Richmond, I made a lot of good friends while doing team-related business," said Rudd. "I still keep in touch with a lot of them, and I get to see them when I'm in Richmond. Knowing that many friends from his past and present are in the stands watching makes Rudd even more determined to put on a good show. "I sometimes see school buddies that I haven't seen for years," Rudd said. "If they don't go to any other race all year, they make a point to come to Richmond. "The fact that old friends make an effort to come watch me means a lot, so I always want do a good job and not fall on my face." Why do old friends go out of their way to show up at the Richmond International Raceway? One fan says it is because Rudd is the "true Virginian gentleman." In response to that compliment Rudd said, "That's honorable. It's nice to know that I give that impression." Rudd says he enjoys Richmond because it is one of the few places where he does not have to stay in his motor home. He usually stays with friends and is happy to get a day of relaxation. "I like to get to Richmond early, visit with my friends, do some four-wheeling and grilling out, basically just have a day of bumming around before practice begins." After a day off reuniting with friends and relishing his time in Virginia, Rudd is glad to get back to the track. "I love Richmond International Raceway," Rudd said. "The new layout is one of the best short tracks I have ever driven on. "You can race two lanes wide, so you always get a close race. Because the groove is wide, you don't have to knock people out of the way. That makes it fun to race on." Rudd finished fourth at Richmond in May. He won here in 1984. "Everything is starting to come together for the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford team. I hope we'll be able to give the fans in Virginia something to be proud of Saturday," Rudd said.

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Series NASCAR Cup