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RUDD SIGNS WITH YATES, ENDING SIX YEARS AS OWNER

Ricky Rudd is ending his six-year run as a Winston Cup driver-owner and will go to work for one of the top teams on the circuit.

"I'm looking forward to focusing on just driving and letting someone else worry about all the other stuff," Rudd said after signing a multiyear deal to drive for Robert Yates Racing starting in 2000.

"I look at my driving career and I probably have three to five good years left," the 43-year-old Rudd said during a news conference. "I want to win a championship really bad before I step aside, and I've got a few more races I want to try to win."

Rudd figures his chances will improve considerably by driving for Yates, whose cars have won 44 Winston Cup races, including four this year by points leader Dale Jarrett.

Yates is hiring Rudd to replace Kenny Irwin, who is leaving after two seasons in which he has no victories and numerous wrecks.

"The performance hasn't been everything we want it to be at times," Yates said.

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