NASCAR & Auto Racing

Rudd not sure how long shoulder injury will keep him sidelined

RICHMOND, Va. – Ricky Rudd has been racing since he was a lad growing up in Chesapeake, Va., but for the first time in his career he missed a race because of injury Saturday night.

Rudd suffered a separated shoulder in a crash at California Speedway a week earlier, forcing him to give over the No. 88 Ford to Kenny Wallace for Saturday’s Chevy Rock ‘n’ Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

The California race was Rudd’s 900th career Nextel Cup start, but Rudd said here that he can’t be sure he’ll get back into the car before the end of the season. Rudd announced earlier this year that this would be his last season of full-time competition.

“That’s really kind of in the doctor’s hands,” Rudd said when asked if it’s possible he’s raced in his final Cup race.

“I don’t have answer for that and they don’t have an answer right now.”

Rudd said his injury is considered a level three separated shoulder.

“When I heard separated shoulder, I thought that sounded pretty good – it sounded a lot better than breaking,” he said.

“I understand that’s not necessarily a good thing, it’s torn ligaments and stretched ligaments. I’ve got one shoulder that’s always going to be an inch-and-a-half taller than the other one, even when it heals.

“That’s not a big deal, but as far as recovering from the injury, I don’t know. It could be next week, it could be five weeks or six weeks.

"There’s 11 weeks of racing if you count this weekend, so I don’t know. I’m open-minded. I hope it’s not my last race. I’m not planning on that, but we’ll just face it one weekend at a time.”