Rudd to retire

Ricky Rudd knows what he'll do, or at least not do, when he retires. It's just that he doesn't know if this will be his last NASCAR Nextel Cup season. A season besieged by accidents and mechanical woes have pinned him deep into the points standings heading into Saturday night's Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway. That's raised the question of the 48-year-old Chesapeake native's status. When asked about retirement in January, he said that if he doesn't run well this year, "then you probably won't see me the next year." So, is this Rudd's last ride? He says he'll decide sometime this summer if he'll join Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin in making this his final Cup season. Both, who announced their retirements last year, are having solid farewells. Martin is sixth in the points and Wallace 14th but only 42 points behind Martin. When Rudd decides to retire, he says he won't follow the paths other veterans have taken. He doesn't want to do a full-season farewell tour just to sell special souvenir items as many have done. Rudd also says he won't run a partial schedule as Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are doing. While Martin has hinted at running a full season on the Craftsman Truck series next year, Rudd won't. "I see myself not traveling so much, going off and seeing family that I've neglected for years," said Rudd, who made his Cup debut at age 18 in 1975 at Rockingham. "I've got a lot of catching up to do in my personal life." Although Rudd says that he'll spend a year away from racing once he retires, he admits there's one thing that could draw him back. "Something in the back of my mind that I wanted to do was LeMans," he says of the world famous 24-hour race. "I would drive there. That race has probably lost a lot of prestige over the years in this country, but as a kid growing up and being into go-kart road racing, that was a race I used to dream about." Roanoke Times

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