Ricky Rudd will start his 900th career NASCAR Nextel Cup/Winston Cup race this week end at California Motor Speedway. At the end of the 2007 Nextel Cup season he has said he will retire.
Known as the Ironman for his record 788 consecutive Cup series starts. Rudd shares the record for most consecutive seasons with at least one win - his run from 1983 through 1998 - with Rusty Wallace. Barring a miracle in the last 12 races, he'll finish with 23 Top series wins.
No one knows how NASCAR will choose their Hall of Fame inductees - or how fast or slow they will build the numbers of members. In any case, Ricky Rudd will not be included in early classes.
Even down the line, the 23 wins alone would be on the low side of the margins of my qualifications. But taking the whole body of work into account, Ricky Rudd deserves to be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame some day.
Picture credit: Beth Anne Heisler - ON PIT ROW