Rudd could replace the retiring Wallace UPDATE #3 You know, I've heard that they want him really bad in that car for next year. And the problem is the whole hang-up on this situation Dave seems to be who to put in that car because there's not a lot of veteran quality drivers to really go around right now. But Rudd's got a decision to make. He's either going to go in that 42 car, or he's going to retire. FoxSports.com 11/06/05 Ricky Rudd plans to end one of NASCAR's storied careers this year, but says he could be lured back for another season to replace Rusty Wallace. Rudd's future hinges on a complicated deal among Chip Ganassi Racing, Roush Racing and Penske Racing South that will determine where Jamie McMurray and Kurt Busch, among others, drive next season.
Rudd is car owner Roger Penske's insurance policy if Busch cannot leave Roush Racing to replace the retiring Wallace next season. Busch has a contract with Roush Racing through next year and will join Penske's team in 2007 at the latest. If Busch can join Penske for next season, then Rudd will leave a sport that he's been a part of since 1975. His three-year contract with the Wood Brothers ends this season. Ken Schrader reportedly will replace Rudd next season.
Rudd admits that it "would be a little disappointing'' if Penske doesn't need him next year, but that doesn't mean he won't drive for Penske someday. Penske owns a sports car team and Rudd enjoys road racing. Roanoak.com
Ricky Rudd said Saturday that he could end up driving for Roger Penske, possibly in the American Le Mans Series, instead of in NASCAR. Rudd, an expert road racer, said he will drive Penske’s #2 Dodge Nextel Cup car in 2006 if Kurt Busch isn’t released from his contract with Roush Racing. But regardless of how that works out — and he put the odds at about 50-50 — Rudd said he’d like to have a shot at driving one of Penske’s new Porsches in the ALMS. “I’m pretty much just standing by for the No. 2 (Penske Nextel Cup) car,” Rudd said. “There have been other ones that have come to me, but what I like about the No. 2 car is that everything that is needed, from financials to personnel, sponsorship — everything there is in place. It’s not a building or rebuilding situation, and that’s what’s appealing to me right now. Rudd said if he doesn’t go Cup racing in 2006, that he had “a house to build and a house to knock down, and that’s the most immediate thing on my list. Once we get that going and under control, and June or July rolls around, I might do a few road races if the right opportunity exists if I’m not in the No. 2 car.”
As for the future of crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain, Rudd said he expects him to stay with the Wood Brothers #21 Ford next year, when Ken Schrader will take over behind the wheel. “I think that’s all done,” Rudd said. “He had a lot of great offers, but I believe he’s all squared away, and that’s great for the Wood Brothers.” And Rudd said he’s turned down a number of inquiries from other Cup teams. “There are options out there, but I’ve basically declined the other options,” he said. Speed Channel
11/06/05 Ricky Rudd said yesterday he has agreed to take the [#2] ride with Roger Penske, replacing Rusty Wallace next season, if Penske can't wrangle Kurt Busch from Jack Roush. "Roger and I have talked, but I really don't know how it will all work out," Rudd said. "We're all waiting to see. I'd really planned to leave the sport at the end of the season," Rudd said, revealing his plans after months of speculation. "And I told Eddie Wood (his car owner) that over the summer. But we were running so well that we didn't want to say anything. But then the phone started ringing. However there is only one man I'd answer the phone for." Penske, "If Roger needs me, I'll take the ride," Rudd said. Penske has signed Busch to drive in 2007 and wants Busch for 2006. But Roush won't release Busch unless car owner Chip Ganassi releases Jamie McMurray to take Busch's ride with Roush. And Ganassi won't release McMurray unless he can land another top driver: the top two names mentioned are Labonte and Rudd.
But Rudd said yesterday he wasn't interested in taking the ride with Ganassi. So unless Ganassi can persuade Labonte to sign, it appears Penske is left with Wallace's seat still to fill. Rudd said he'll take that seat for one final season if Penske says he needs him. Winston Salem Journal 10/30/05 Lee Spencer reports on Around the Track that Roger Penske spoke with Ricky Rudd regarding taking over the #2 ride if Kurt Busch is not released from the #97 team.