Success has Rudd in limbo

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2002

JOLIET, Ill. -- Elliott Sadler was supposed to be the first domino in a chain reaction of job changes. But even Sadler has to wait for Ricky Rudd to make the first move.

A month ago, Rudd leaving Robert Yates Racing and being replaced with Sadler was supposed to be a done deal. Rudd had given every indication he wouldn't stay with Yates, so much so that Sadler sought and received an early release in his contract with Wood Brothers Racing.

A streak of good runs, including a victory at Sonoma, Calif., on June 23 has Rudd thinking about returning to the No. 28 Havoline Ford in 2003. And that has Sadler in limbo.

''I'm still waiting,'' Sadler said. ''I think the media, you all have done a great job in kind of nailing down what is going on (with his move to Yates). I'm waiting to see, just like everybody else, what the announcement is going to be with the 28 car. I've kind of put a lot of eggs in that basket, and I'm willing to take that chance to see what happens.''

Rudd has turned talk of disappointment and retirement into a plan to drive again next year.

He's supposed to give Yates his decision in the next week, and he feels is priority is to return next season as long as Yates wants him back.

If Rudd returns, Sadler will have to start looking for work for the 2003 campaign. He will finish the season with the Wood Brothers, but it appears a return to the No. 21 Ford is possible.

''I think everybody is waiting to see what Ricky's going to do and how his situation is going to work out. I think a lot of dominoes are going to fall from there for a lot of different teams, not just me and my situation, but a lot of people. So I think everybody is just waiting to see what happens with him first.''

DAYTONA RESCUE A WRECK: The way emergency workers responded to a 16-car crash in the late stages of Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway has prompted NASCAR to ask for an explanation.

The sanctioning body wants to know why Brett Bodine's car burned for several minutes before a fire truck arrived and why Dale Jarrett was able to climb from his wrecked car and walk nearly a quarter-mile before an ambulance arrived.

Jarrett was so upset by the response he refused to ride on the ambulance. He instead walked from the first turn of the 212-mile speedway to pit road.



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