When Iron Rusts: The Story of the Ironman of Nascar

Joe BussContributor IJuly 12, 2008

When Iron Rusts: The Story of the Ironman of NASCAR, Ricky Rudd.

With nearly half of the season over, some fans already miss the man with the plan.

Ricky Rudd, driver of the No. 88 Snickers machine, goes one more season without driving. Amongst the greatest in NASCAR, Ricky Rudd leaves the sport after nearly 25 years of racing, including Winston Cup and Nextel, Busch, and twin 125’s.

Ricky Rudd is not only my favorite driver, but is one of over 50 top greats in NASCAR. Rudd came back last year to race for Robert Yates, one owner who he had worked with before.

He had pulled a “Driven” (Movie) type setting, helping the rookie David Gilliland land on his feet in the racing world. However, Rudd, a normally soft-spoken and subtle driver disliked the spotlight and often averted his way out of it.

A true “good ol’ boy of racing”, Rudd in the last year openly criticized NASCAR for its new and improved rules set, Chase for the Cup, and overall unbelievable amount of commercialism.

Quoting the anonymous crowd at Pocono Speedway during last week’s race; “NASCAR has turned sorry to say, Urban, featuring bad-tasted music from the city, NASCAR has overall lost its good ol’ boy feel to it.’”

NASCAR assumes new rules every year, such as the “chase for the cup”. The days of Ricky Rudd and Good Ol’ Boy Racing may be over.


Now and Then Comparison

Then: Budweiser and Aluminum Seating, drinking and eating hot dogs, staying until midnight at the track, wearing your favorite NASCAR drivers’ shirt.

Now: A nice red wine at the stadium club box, seated on leather air-conditioned seating and eating shrimp and crab while wearing our Ralph Lauren polo’s.

We need to face facts that the turn that NASCAR has made, has been a helluva mistake, a true turn for the worse.

Article Part I of III.