NASCAR

Rudd deserves a break after silver streak

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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If he starts the last two races of the season, Ricky Rudd will have raced 25 consecutive seasons without missing a race which is pretty phenomenal. When he decided to walk away, we wouldn't know until after the checkered flag at the final race or close to it, and we're less than two weeks away from the end of the season. Like Rusty Wallace, Rudd is competitive right now. He's not just making sure he doesn't get hurt. He's running up front, and that's good to see because not too long ago, many of us were wondering what was going on with him. He could barely run in the top 25. But now I guarantee that Rudd would love to come back next year and compete in a race or two. I was Rudd's crew chief for two years. In fact my very first win as a crew chief was with Rudd at Watkins Glen in 1988, and I knew in my heart that he would not have a farewell tour, "last call" or "salute to you" tour. That's just not Ricky. He probably wants to spend time with his wife, Linda, and their only son, Landon. I'm not sure if Landon is interested in any type of racing, but I'm sure Rudd already feels like he's missed out on a lot of things with his son. There could have been a couple of one-year opportunities for Rudd in some good race cars. If Kurt Busch hadn't been released, the No. 2 ride at Penske Racing could have been a good opportunity. If Jamie McMurray hadn't been released, the No. 42 Ganassi car could have been another good opportunity. Rudd wasn't remotely looking at anything long term, but there could have been some short-term opportunities.
Speed Mail Larry

Fatback's future

Mikey from Gurnee, Ill.: With Ricky Rudd taking a break from racing, what do you think crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain will do? Larry McReynolds: Even if Ken Schrader drives the No. 21 car in 2006, the future of that ride is probably in Jon Wood's hands. If I were Fatback, I would be excited about the future. Or maybe Fatback feels like he's in the top end of his career, and he doesn't want to go through some growing years. But Wood sure shows a lot of potential and someone like Michael McSwain could be exactly what Jon Wood needs.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Kurt Busch

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