Ricky Rudd is a wheel man. Don’t believe me? Fast forward to the 2-hour, 18-minute mark in the latest NASCAR Classic Full Race Replay of the 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400.
With less than 20 laps to go at Richmond Raceway, Kevin Harvick put the bumper to Rudd as they come off the corner. Somehow, someway, the “Rooster” was able to gather it up and didn’t even lose second place to a closing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy.
Now, I didn’t take physics in school and don’t remember much from geometry, but 10 out of 10 average NASCAR drivers wreck a race car pointed at a 45-degree angle on the front stretch of any track. Rudd didn’t, and that was bad news for Harvick.
After leading 12 laps, Rudd caught Harvick and returned the favor, putting Rudd in the perfect position to go take the win with six laps to go.
This exchange sparked a rivalry between the “Rooster” and “Happy” many will remember boiled over two years later yet again at Richmond when Rudd put Harvick into the fence.
We all know the rest of the story: Harvick jumps on Rudd’s car post-race trying to fight, and Rudd famously says, “He’s got that little yap-yap mouth, I couldn’t tell what he was saying.”
Relive the origins of the Ricky Rudd-Kevin Harvick rivalry in this NASCAR Classic Full Race Replay of the 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400.