Iron Man Returns

Ricky Rudd
Oh happy days! Ricky Rudd aka “The Iron Man” is returning back to full-time Nextel Cup racing. Teaming up with the ailing Robert Yates Racing may not be the best ride in the garage, but certainly ought to be as good as his last ride.

I dug out my Ricky Rudd book (a Christmas present from years past) to read that it was 1981 that 24-year old Rudd was brought over to DiGard Racing by then lead engine builder Robert Yates to drive the #88 Gatorade Chevrolet.

Rudd started out in the Winston Cup Grand National Series at the age of 18. With just a few practice laps under his belt in a stock car he raced the Carolina 500 at ‘The Rock”, North Carolina Speedway. He finished 11th. The next week he raced the Southeastern 500 at Bristol. He finished 10th. Not bad for a kid that had been racing go-karts.

Ricky Rudd is a true racer in my book. Dubbed the ‘Iron Man’ for his 788 consecutive race starts. Newer fans may not know how he taped his eyes open with duct tape to run the Daytona 500 in February of 1984. A crazy, violent 7-flip wreck left him with banged up ribs and eyes so swollen and black they were shut.

So here is a special ‘off season’ post to Ricky Rudd, Rooster, The Iron Man…one of my favorite drivers. I’ve got high hopes for you old man! Show ‘em how it’s done.”