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A longtime fan to Ricky Rudd: Thanks for the memories

A driving career that spanned 32 years and 906 Cup starts came to an unceremonious close in the 2007 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. One thing is certain, writes Marty Smith. Ricky Rudd deserved better.

Updated: November 27, 2007, 10:37 AM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.com

For a man with so few -- if any -- frills, it was the perfect reaction, neither nostalgic nor tearful but instead absolute and direct.

Thirty-two years and it was over. Truly over. Ricky Rudd had run his final race.

He emerged from the Snickers Ford at Homestead-Miami Speedway, grinning sheepishly. His illustrious NASCAR career had just ended with an unceremonious 21st-place finish, one lap down, in the Ford 400. His wife waited outside the window with a smile ...

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