Rudd returns after injury

NASCAR veteran Ricky Rudd is back behind the wheel this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway after sitting out the last five races following an injury he got in an accident last month

Rudd suffered from a left shoulder separation in a crash at California Speedway, where he was celebrating his 900th Nextel Cup career start. He was also briefly knocked unconscious in the crash, which happened at full speed on the front stretch.

Doctors have finally cleared him to return this weekend to the No. 88 Ford in which he is expected to complete his final full season of Nextel Cup racing, having announced his retirement in August.

The 51-year-old says he is still not 100 per cent recovered but will attempt to compete in this weekend's Bank of America 500. Although he has already successfully completed practice despite some pain, he might eventually step out of the car if he doesn't find himself fully fit to complete Saturday's race.

"It may turn out to be hard on me to run the 500 miles at Charlotte this weekend," Rudd said. "But I'm not going into this weekend with the intention of merely starting the race, I'm there to complete the entire race and that's my goal.

"I won't know if I'm going to be able to run the whole race until we get there, but I would not have gotten back in the car if I didn't feel I had a very realistic chance of running all 500 miles Saturday night."

Kenny and Mike Wallace have replaced Rudd in the last five races, but neither have been put on standby for the rest of the weekend by Yates Racing.

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