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Rudd Optimistic As Second Half Of Season Begins LOUDON, N.H. - Now within striking distance of the top spot in the point standings, Ricky Rudd will continue the charge toward his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship as the second...

Rudd Optimistic As Second Half Of Season Begins

LOUDON, N.H. - Now within striking distance of the top spot in the point standings, Ricky Rudd will continue the charge toward his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship as the second half of the 2001 season opens Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway.

Rudd, driver of the Texaco/Havoline Ford Taurus, is only 18 points behind three-time champion Jeff Gordon and Dale Jarrett, his Robert Yates Racing teammate, who won the 1999 championship. Gordon and Jarrett are tied with 2,515 points each while Rudd's total is 2,497.

Rudd has finished 14th or better in the last 11 races. And in those races, he has earned 1,702 points compared with 1,534 for Gordon and 1,459 for Jarrett.

"I really like what's happening here," Rudd said. "It has taken a year and a half, but it looks like we're building a strong championship-caliber team. I like that we're consistently finishing races near the front at every type of track. That's what our main competitors do and it's what we're now doing."

In those last 11 races, Rudd has completed 100 percent of the laps. He won at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in June and leads the series in top-10 finishes with 13.

"I look back at those races with a lot of pride," Rudd said. "And I look forward to the next four or five races with a lot of enthusiasm. We go to New Hampshire, Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan. We have won at every one of those tracks."

"I've always run very well at New Hampshire," Rudd said. "I've won here in another car and this team has also won here. We've been at our best on flat tracks like New Hampshire. Last year we finished in the top 10 in both Loudon races, so if everything goes well it should be a really good week for us."

-RYR-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett
Teams Yates Racing