Ricky Rudd is amongst NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Named stock car racing “Iron Man”, Ricky Rudd set a Cup-record of 788 straight races between 1981 and 2005. A very consistent NASCAR driver, Ricky Rudd is known for his top-standard of driving. Ricky Rudd has left an indelible mark on the history of NASCAR racing and remains a NASCAR icon.
Ricky Rudd was born in Chesapeake of Virginia, USA on 12 September 1956. From the young age of 8, Rudd had an interest in racing as he began competing in go-kart races. A talented performer behind the wheel, Ricky Rudd was the winner of the International Karting Federation National Championship in 1971. After participating in both karts and motocross races he advanced to NASCAR’s top series as a Winston Cup driver in the year 1975. Rudd’s first major NASCAR race took place in Rockingham where he came in 11th place after starting in 26th position. In 1977 he was given the title of NASCAR Rookie of the Year. He later joined his father’s NASCAR team. He gained numerous victories during the 1980s. In 1991 Ricky Rudd came in 2nd at the NASCAR Winston Cup. He followed this in 1992 by winning the International Race of Champions.
Ricky Rudd has many great achievements to his name. One of these was his win at the 1997 Brickyard 400 held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That same year he had his 500th consecutive start in the NASCAR Winston Cup. Rudd had wins at Pocono and Richmond in 2001 At the end of his 2002 season, Rudd became a part of Wood Brothers Racing. Between 1975 and 2003 Ricky Rudd had posted 23 wins, 191 Top-Five finishes and 361 Top-Ten finishes.
Ricky Rudd decided to take a break from NASCAR driving at the end of the 2005 season. He stood in from time to time for Tony Stewart in 2006, and made a come-back in 2007 before retiring from the sport. Rudd was amongst 2007’s inductees into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. A truly skilled, reliable and talented NASCAR driver, Ricky Rudd continues to support NASCAR from the sidelines.
Richard Childress Racing is a NASCAR team that fields various Chevrolets. Kevin Harvick drives #29, Jeff Burton drives #31, Clint Bowyer drives #33, John Wes Townley is in the #21, and Austin Dillon drives #3. Businessman Richard Childress, who was a former driver, owns the team.
Richard Childress Racing made its debut at the 1969 Talladega 500 with a 1968 Chevy, numbered 3. Childress drove and finished 23rd due to axle problems. Between 1972 until just before the end of the 1976 season, Childress competed for the team in fourteen races. He made eleven top-ten finishes and finished the year ranked eleventh. Then in 1981 Richard Childress ended his career and gave over the #3 ride to the defending Winston Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt.
With car #29 Earnhardt made six top-tens and then moved, with Ricky Rudd taking his place for the 1982 season. Rudd ended both 1982 and 1983 placed ninth in points and the next two years he won. When the season ended Rudd was replaced with former RCR driver Earnhardt. He had a successful two decades, winning six championships but later on his performance slowed down. On February 18, 2001, Earnhardt was on the finishing lap of the Daytona 500 when he crashed head-on into a wall, dying immediately.
Jeff Green was selected to drive the #07 car, which debuted at California Speedway, finishing 21 in total points. Green made pole position at the Sharpie 500, with six top-tens and finishing 17th the following year. Later Green was replaced with Steve Park but with not much potential he was not re-assigned. Jeff Burton later became available and was snapped up by Childress, finishing off the rest of the year. With Robby Gordon moving, Burton decided to leave, which meant that Childress had two spaces to fill. Jack Daniels took up sponsorship and by 2006 Clint Bowyer took over the car.
Childress used car #31 for research and development. Its debut was at North Carolina Speedway in 1988. The next time the car was seen was in 1993 with Neil Bonnett driving at Talladega Superspeedway. Three years later Mike Skinner made a return with the car but having suffered injuries during the 1998 season Morgan Shepherd and Mike Dillon, Childress’ son-in-law, took over. With the injuries Skinner was never able to excel and eventually Robby Gordon took over with a spectacular race in 2001, where he battled against Jeff Gordon near the closing-laps to win the season finale at New Hampshire International Speedway.
By the end of 2009, Richard Childress Racing had managed to rack up the following championships: 6 Sprint Cups, 5 Nationwide Series and 1 Camping World Truck Series.
Yates Racing merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009.
Robert Yates Racing is based in Mooresville, North Carolina and is an official NASCAR racing team. Robert Yates owns the team and at the moment has two cars, number 88 and 38 Fords that are racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. David Gilliland drives #38 and has sponsorship from Masterfoods, USA. Number 88 will be driven by Ricky Rudd during the 2007 season and is also sponsored by Masterfoods.
Ford Racing motors in partnerships with Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing produce the powerful engines Robert’s cars have. In the past Robert’s motors have been known as the most powerful engines in NASCAR, whereas Roush has been known as a consistent motor. The combination has produced excellent and dominant engines since 2004 and since 2006 all Ford teams in the NEXTEL Cup have been using the Yates/Roush engines.
In 1996 Dale Jarrett took over driving #88 and is still part of the Robert’s team. Dale has had numerous wins over the years and has recorded the most wins out of all the drivers in Robert’s team. For the 2006 season Jarrett will move to Michael Waltrip Racing team, but #88 will still be raced in 2007.
Robert Yates took on Davey Allison as his first driver. Allison drove the #28 Havoline Ford till the mid-1993, making 15 wins and finishing 3rd in points twice over the years. A disastrous crash in a helicopter tragically killed Allison in 1993. Lake Speed, Robby Gordon and Ernie Irvan split the rest of the duties left in the season. Irvan successfully won twice and the following year he won three times in the #28 but was badly injured in a crash, leaving Kenny Wallace to take over.
In 1995 Dale Jarrett replaced Irvan who was still struggling to recuperate. That year he won at Pocono Raceway, finishing 16th in points. Ernie Irvan competed in three races in the #88 but soon switched over to the #28, expanding the racing team to a two-team setup. By 1997 his term with Robert Yates racing team came to an end. In 2003 Elliott Sadler was hired to drive #28 and with the car he won twice. Yates made a few changes; firstly he changed sponsorship to M&M’s and then changed the car number to #38. David Gilliland is the current driver of #38 and will drive in the 2007 season.