Rudd heads to Martinsville full of optimism

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Martinsville Speedway is exactly where Ricky Rudd wants to be this weekend. Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, is riding a string of six top-10 finishes into Sunday's NAPA Autocare 500 at the .526-mile...

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Martinsville Speedway is exactly where Ricky Rudd wants to be this weekend. Rudd, driver of the No. 28 Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, is riding a string of six top-10 finishes into Sunday's NAPA Autocare 500 at the .526-mile oval. Rudd has three wins at the historic track and is optimistic about his chances this weekend despite a 22nd-place finish in April. "We had one of the cars to beat at Martinsville in the spring," Rudd said. "During the middle of that race I just rode around in second spot. We were faster than the other cars and waiting to put ourselves in a position to win." Rudd was poised to get that fourth Martinsville win when a restart late in the race changed his fortunes. "The field got bunched in one of those chain-reaction wrecks, and I ended up sitting the wrong way around in turn four. "It's funny looking back at how strong we were that day, knowing how much better we are now. We are performing consistently well at every track. I think we are going to be even better this time at Martinsville. Rudd is tied with Tony Stewart for fifth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings, which is the highest he's been in the standings since the sixth race of the 1997 season. While Stewart has four wins, Rudd has used the strength of nine top-five and 15 top-10 finishes to earn his spot. "I really like what is happening here," Rudd said. "Good teams run consistently well at all tracks. We're doing that. As long as we keep doing that everything else will take care of itself. "We have a great combination for Martinsville and maybe that will get us the win."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart