Rudd Says Goodbye-Again

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - This time he means it.

Ricky Rudd will retire from regular NEXTEL Cup Series duties after Sunday's Ford 400 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the second time the popular veteran has stepped away from the circuit.

Rudd thought his career ended after the 2005 season when he stepped out of the Wood Brothers JTG Racing No. 21 Ford.

But after sitting on the sidelines for the 2006 campaign, he was called back to duty this season to pilot the Robert Yates Racing No. 88 Ford.

NASCAR's "Iron Man," who holds the record for the most consecutive number of starts with 788, will start the final Cup series race of his career Sunday - his 906th career start.

Ant his time Rudd is ready to completely step away from the sport.

"Honestly it really hasn't settled in that this weekend is it," Rudd said. "I was so busy trying to get my shoulder better the past few months and suddenly here we are at the end of the season already. The reality just hasn't settled in but I'm looking forward to having time to spend with my family."

"I've been fortunate enough to have achieved so many things in my life both on and off the track. As much as I will miss racing on Sundays, I look forward to the next adventure in my life."

Rudd holds numerous accolades on his resume including: 1992 IROC Champion, 1997 Brickyard 400 Winner, 2006 Virginian of the Year, and was named one of NASCAR's "50 All-Time Great" drivers to name a few.

His accomplishments and longevity have helped Rudd become one of NASCAR's most popular drivers of all-time.

"We've had a lot of loyal fans over the years that have always pulled for me and whatever team I was with during my career," Rudd said. "I just want everyone to remember me as someone who gave 120 percent every day in the race car."

"I'm just a guy who loves this sport. I came into NASCAR because I loved racing and I wanted to try and succeed in it. I gave it everything that I had, and hopefully everyone will remember that about me."

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