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Archive for Saturday, July 20, 2002

Party feud dictating Rudd’s future

July 20, 2002

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— The ongoing saga over Ricky Rudd's future took a bizarre twist Friday, when his car owner revealed that the driver and his crew chief are embroiled in an argument about Rudd's absence from a team victory party.

Robert Yates likened the disagreement between Rudd and Michael "Fatback" McSwain to a fight between young children.

Yates, who characterized the fight as a child-like scuffle, was initially reluctant to discuss the disagreement, but as word of it spread around New Hampshire International Speedway on Friday, he admitted the tension existed because of a party McSwain held to celebrate Rudd's win last month at Sears Point Raceway.

The party was held at McSwain's house during the off-week, when Rudd and his family were on vacation. When the series resumed at Daytona two weeks ago, the two argued in their hauler.

"Ricky was invited but he wasn't there and they shouldn't have had it, I guess," Yates said. "It was a 'Why did you have it without me' kind of thing."

The 45-year-old driver is at the end of this contract with Yates and isn't sure how long he wants to continue racing. He has three options retire at the end of this year, return to the No. 28 Ford, or leave and drive for another team.

While testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this week, both Rudd and Yates said chances were slim for the driver's return next season.

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