Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

5 Moments That Made Ricky Rudd a NASCAR Hall of Famer

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

What’s Happening?

The NASCAR Hall of Fame came calling for one of the toughest, grittiest, and most reliable competitors in NASCAR history, Ricky Rudd. While his resume may not boast the gaudy numbers of other Hall of Famers, he’s more than worthy of the honor. These five moments showcase just how great of a driver Ricky Rudd was.

  • Ricky Rudd competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for 33 seasons, 26 of those were full-time. This included 788 consecutive starts from 1981 to 2005, a NASCAR record until Jeff Gordon broke it in 2015.
  • In those starts, Rudd won 23 races, including at least one per year for 16 consecutive seasons from 1983-1998. His best points finish was 2nd, coming in 1991.
  • Fans were thrilled to see Ricky Rudd get in. He’s a beloved driver, and everyone respects just how good he was.

1997 Brickyard 400: First Crown Jewel Win

Ricky Rudd had some incredible accomplishments in his career, but “Crown Jewel” races always seemed to slip away. He never won the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, or Southern 500, but in 1997, he captured a win at arguably the greatest race course of them all.

He took the lead under caution with 14 laps to go, and he survived a pair of late-race restarts to edge Bobby Labonte for the win. Without wins in other major races, one could argue this was the biggest of Rudd’s career.

1994 Slick 50 300: First Win as an Owner-Driver

After Alan Kulwicki won the 1992 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship, a few drivers decided to start their own race teams to varying degrees of success. One of the drivers who found the most success with it was Rudd, who won six races as an owner-driver.

The first win came at New Hampshire in the summer of 1994. In a wild race that featured 17 caution flags, Rudd found himself next to Dale Earnhardt on the final restart with eight laps to go. Rudd got by “The Intimidator” for the win.

2002 Dodge/Save Mart 350: 6-Time Road Course winner

In an era where road courses were exceptionally rare on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule (Maybe two or three per year), Rudd excelled at turning left and right. He won twice on each road course he competed on in NASCAR, Riverside (1983 and 1985), Watkins Glen (1988 and 1990), and Sonoma (1989 and 2002). That puts him tied for fourth all-time in NASCAR road course wins.

His last win came in 2002. Fittingly, it came on the road course at Sonoma, after race leader Jerry Nadeau had a problem with three laps to go, allowing Rudd to pass for an unexpected win.

1984 Daytona 500: Ricky Rudd Tapes His Eyes Open

Rudd was involved in a horrifying crash during the 1984 Busch Clash at Daytona as he flipped wildly several times. His eyes were so swollen from the crash, that Rudd had to get creative to race in Daytona. He taped his eyes open so he could see.

After starting 14th, he finished a solid seventh in the Daytona 500. He won his third career race the next week at Richmond, the second race of the season. It’s an incredible story on the way to his 788 consecutive starts.

1998 NAPA Autocare 500: Ricky Rudd Fights Through Heat Exhaustion to WIN in 16th Consecutive Season

Ricky Rudd’s toughness got him to the Hall of Fame, and this was no more prevalent than in the fall of 1998 at Martinsville. On a 90-degree day, Rudd’s car’s cooling system failed, and he had to wheel the car around while suffering from heat-related illness and blisters from the hot metal in his car.

He took home the win, giving him at least one win in 16 consecutive seasons. Everything Ricky Rudd was about was showcased in this race. His toughness, consistency, and resistance all led to this incredible moment.

What is your favorite Ricky Rudd moment? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts