Just two days after Elliott Sadler's announcement that he would be moving to the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford in 2003, Ricky Rudd finally announced his plan to move to the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, vacated by Sadler. An even trade, I take your ride,...
Just two days after Elliott Sadler's announcement that he would be moving to the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford in 2003, Ricky Rudd finally announced his plan to move to the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, vacated by Sadler. An even trade, I take your ride, you take mine.
This is where you start taking notes. On Sunday, Sadler announced he would be moving to RYR with M&M's as the sponsor. M&Ms is signed on with MB2 through the end of the 2002 season on Kenny Schrader's No. 36 Pontiac. Sponsor Texaco packed up the No. 28, left Robert Yates and headed elsewhere, yet to be determined, while Sadler and Rudd are preparing for the remainder of the season before they swap teams.
Following Rudd's announcement, he had some comments that hinted he may be leaving Yates with a somewhat bitter taste in his mouth. "Elliott Sadler is a friend of mine. I'm not gonna sit here and beat up on Elliott Sadler. He's got his dreams and he's going after it and I just hope it works out as good for him as he thinks it is and that's all I can say."
Prior to Rudd teaming up with the 21 crew, the garage talk had him packing up and heading home as he pondered retirement. Another option was to head to the Chip Ganassi organization with the No. 28 and sponsor Texaco. Somewhere along the line, Ganassi and Rudd simply couldn't come to final terms.
"Chip and I had talked -- not only Chip, but I talked to many different teams. With Chip Ganassi, that's a fine operation. Chip's a winner. He's been a winner in every sport he's been in and he's winning in Winston Cup. Chip and I simply couldn't come to final terms and, believe me, we tried. All along, I said, 'Pay me market value for my driver services -- a top 10 driver.'
With other opportunities on the table, Rudd said his decision came down to a lifelong dream. "I had a tremendous number of opportunities presented to me by a lot of great car owners in this sport and it was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make in my life. To have the chance to drive for the Wood Brothers was sort of a dream of mine when I was a kid just getting started."
The deal with the Wood Brothers will be a three year agreement, in addition to a contract extension with sponsor Motorcraft through 2005.