MEMPHIS, TN. (June 23, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued his string of impressive performances scoring a fourth straight Top-10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finish with a seventh-place effort in the Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports ...
MEMPHIS, TN. (June 23, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued his string of impressive performances scoring a fourth straight Top-10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series finish with a seventh-place effort in the Memphis 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
"I've never raced so hard in my life for seventh place," said Hendrick of the last 20 laps. "Our goal this year is to learn and I can't seem to learn fast enough. Survival was key today. The GMAC Chevy is in one piece, it's not beat up too bad and both fenders are on. We were the Top-Rookie for the third-straight week and we got another Top-10 finish. It was pretty tough out there today. It was a learning experience and a good day."
Hendrick's No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado started the race from the 12th position and ran near or inside the Top-10 for the first half of the race. A series of caution flags allowed Hendrick's Team GMAC to make the necessary adjustments to move the Charlotte, NC driver toward the front over the final 100 laps.
"We struggled a lot here, " said Hendrick. "Ever since we unloaded, the truck has been really tight. It seemed like I was experiencing the exact opposite of what everyone else had going on out here all weekend. I was tight and everyone else was loose. They like right tires, and I liked lefts.
The left-side tires made me turn better in the center of the corner and that's what we were looking for all day."
Hendrick saved the best for last as the heat turned up over the final laps of the race. Pushing his Chevy Silverado to the limit, he gained two spots in one Turn 1 move much to the delight of his Team GMAC crew chief.
"Way to be aggressive," radioed Lance McGrew. "Just keep picking through them and getting by them. I know there is a lot of bumper tag going on out there, but you are faster than they are."
"I was driving the heck out of it to try to get position," stated Hendrick. "It was a short track shoot out. It reminded me of Concord (NC) Motor Speedway. I just didn't get to do what we came here to do. My teammate, Jack Sprague and his crew chief
Dennis Connor have great chemistry and they had a great set-up from the beginning. They've been together for a long time. We never quite got what we were looking for. It takes time. What can I say - until we win we will always want more."
The solid finish earned the young driver $11,275 in prize money and kept him in the heat of the championship chase. Hendrick is still fourth in the standings, just 183 points out of first place.
Hendrick and his Team GMAC crew will return to the track June 30 at The Milwaukee Mile for the GNC Live Well 200. The race will be telecast live on ESPN at 1 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.