Ricky Rudd: Way tougher than LeBron James

Christopher DeHarde has a message for those who aren't questioning LeBron's decision to leave the first game of the NBA finals after the air conditioning failed.

We’ve all seen it. LeCramp, Lebroning and all the jokes and abuse that can be hurled at LeBron James after the air conditioning failed during the first game in the NBA Finals.

For all the doubt that exists about whether race car drivers are athletes, it seems like we should look at how athletes handle adversity when performing before making the final judgement.

For example, let’s look at a not so random driver in a not so random race - Ricky Rudd at the 1998 NAPA Autocare 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

The race was run in temperatures that would make many drivers get out of the car, as the high was nearly 97 degrees. Inside the cars, it was much hotter.

Rudd’s cooling system failed in the first couple of laps of the race. Cockpit temperatures reached a point where Rudd was practically roasting in his car.

But he didn’t stop.

His crew would fill makeup bags with ice and hand them to him during pit stops and would spray water on his suit from a hose. However, one time the hose sprayed semi-warm water that nearly put Rudd out of commission.

Rudd knew he had a winning car that day. He knew that if he could keep it off the walls that he could pull into victory lane.

And that’s what he did.

Rudd pulled into victory lane and was gingerly helped out of the car and was laid out on the ground of victory lane, where he was administered oxygen.

He earned it. He willed himself to finish the race after going through hell on a hot day with even hotter brakes.

I bet LeBron couldn’t do that.

And if you think this story regarding Ricky Rudd is exaggerated in any way, feel free to take a look at the videos below...

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Chris James
Article type Commentary
Tags lebron james, nascar, ricky rudd