Editor’s Note: The following was the cover of the Sept. 30, 1998 issue of National Speed Sport News.
Heat Not Enough To Stop Rudd’s Streak
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The only things hotter than the sun at Martinsville Speedway were Ricky Rudd’s backside and his Tide Ford Taurus.
With the seat in his Tide Ford a “hot iron” and his helmet filled with scorching air, Rudd dug deep within himself for 500 laps, winning the NAPA Autocare 500 and extending his streak of consecutive seasons with a NASCAR Winston Cup victory to 16.
“You earned it today,” said crew chief Bill Ingle as Rudd took the checkered flag.
Rudd, the enthusiasm of the moment lost in the pain of his burning body, simply replied, “Get somebody to get me out of this thing.”
Four hundred laps past wanting to get out of the car, Rudd collapsed in victory lane after being helped from his car.
“This (victory) was a long time coming,” Rudd gasped between deep breaths from an oxygen tank. “I had a heckuva race car all day, but I tried a different helmet today, a different cool-suit helmet, and the thing froze up on lap two and it just cooked me all day.”
– Hewitt Dons Four Crowns
Veteran open-wheel racer Jack Hewitt made history when he became the first driver to sweep all four (midget, sprint car, Silver Crown, modified) features during the 4-Crown Nationals at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.
– Stefanik Ties Evans’s Record
Mike Stefanik tied legendary Richie Evans’ record for single-season victories with his 12th NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series victory of the season at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.
– Haud Hustles
Jac Haudenschild swept both features during the Cornhusker Nationals Pennzoil World of Outlaws at Nebraska’s I-80 Speedway.