Rudd to Ganassi?

Speculation has run rampant around what Ricky Rudd's plans are for next season, but thus far he's kept quiet. But I heard an unconfirmed rumor Friday at Martinsville that perhaps makes the most sense of any buzz that I've heard in a long time. Instead of retiring at the end of this year, Rudd could leave the No. 21 car to drive the No. 42 car for Chip Ganassi next season.

Jamie McMurray would be released from the final year of his contract with Ganassi so that he can drive the No. 97 Ford for Roush Racing, thus freeing up Kurt Busch to get out of his contract with Roush one year early to replace Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Dodge next season. Sources indicate that Ganassi could also receive payment from the Roush camp, which in turn likely would receive funds from Penske Racing South and primary sponsor Miller Lite for Busch's early release to replace Wallace.

Consider who the sponsor of the No. 42 car is: Texaco Havoline, the same colors Rudd flew for three seasons (2000-2002) during his term with Robert Yates Racing. From what I've heard, Texaco Havoline is not pleased with having McMurray as a moody, unhappy lame-duck driver in '06 and has been applying pressure to Ganassi to let McMurray go. Texaco Havoline would then build a significant one-year farewell tour marketing campaign around Rudd. More at Yahoo! Sports

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