BUSCH: Ricky Hendrick inks associate sponsor

RALEIGH, NC (Dec. 14, 2001) -- CARQUEST Auto Parts has joined Hendrick Motorsports as the official auto parts supplier and as a major associate sponsor for the 2002 season of Ricky Hendrick and his GMAC Financial Services / CARQUEST Auto Parts ...

RALEIGH, NC (Dec. 14, 2001) -- CARQUEST Auto Parts has joined Hendrick Motorsports as the official auto parts supplier and as a major associate sponsor for the 2002 season of Ricky Hendrick and his GMAC Financial Services / CARQUEST Auto Parts NASCAR Busch Grand National car. Hendrick joins teammate Jack Sprague in moving from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to the NASCAR Busch Series. Both drivers will pilot 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlos in what will be a first-ever, full-time NASCAR Busch Series effort for the famed Hendrick Motorsports operation, winners of five NASCAR Winston Cup Series and three Craftsman Truck Series championships.

"All of us at CARQUEST Auto Parts are proud to be associate with Hendrick Motorsports and Ricky Hendrick," said Art Lottes, III, CARQUEST President. "Hendrick Motorsports is a high class organization and we look forward to a great season with Ricky and his quest for a championship and a win in May at the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 in Charlotte."

Ricky Hendrick, son of team owner Rick Hendrick, will try to build on a stellar 2001 NCTS season that saw the 21-year-old driver set a pair of NCTS records -- one as the youngest driver to win a race when he captured the inaugural event at Kansas Speedway, and the other for scoring the most Top-10 finishes by a rookie (19) in a single season. Hendrick finished sixth in the 2001 NCTS season standings and second in the division's Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award chase.

"Winning in Kansas City was phenomenal," said Ricky Hendrick. "We were in the Truck Series to learn and that is exactly what we did. I'll never forget my rookie year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The experience we gained was invaluable and certain to be a big step to me as my career moves forward into the NASCAR Busch Series."

Hendrick has 16 career Busch Series starts entering the 2002 season, which kicks off in February at Daytona Beach, FL. He owns a career-best third-place qualifying effort at the Fall 2000 event at Charlotte and a fifth-place finish also that season at Nashville. Hendrick will benefit in 2002 by retaining the experience and guidance of veteran NASCAR crew chief Lance McGrew.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , NASCAR-NS