SOUTH BOSTON, VA. (Sept. 28, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick avoided the carnage to score a solid sixth-place finish in the NetZero 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at South Boston Speedway Friday. "South Boston is short track racing at it's best,"...
SOUTH BOSTON, VA. (Sept. 28, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick avoided the carnage to score a solid sixth-place finish in the NetZero 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at South Boston Speedway Friday.
"South Boston is short track racing at it's best," said Hendrick, who piloted the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado the event.
"The race was everything we thought it would be - beating, banging and big wrecks. Short track racing is tough. I know we should have wrecked at least eight times out there. It's tough on the drivers because this track is a narrow one-track groove. There are no tricks to this track and we survived with another Top-10 finish. That's a good night."
Hendrick started the race from sixth position and drifted back as the 36-truck field muscled its way around the tight.400-mile South Boston oval. "I got hung our early in the race," said Hendrick. "We knew the goal was to survive, but once I'm in the truck and on the track we wanted another win for Team GMAC. Track position is so important at a track like this one, so we couldn't come in and make the adjustments we needed. I worked my way up to fourth and waited for our chance."
Hendrick's Team GMAC crew used pit strategy to the fullest. Crew chief Lance McGrew had the 21-year-old driver stay out until a Lap 134 caution flag before pitting for fresh tires and some aggressive chassis adjustments. "Lance made perfect calls tonight," said Hendrick. "I told him what was wrong with the GMAC Chevy and he fixed it. As a driver, I am competitive by nature. I know I was pushing the front end off. We were running with the best tonight and we are proud of that."
At the finish, that effort along with some previous race and testing experience at South Boston paid off for the Charlotte, NC native. "We worked really hard to prepare for this race," said Hendrick. "There is only so much preparation you can do for a track like this one. We raced hard and we were lucky. I had my first stock car experience here and that didn't turn out very well, but we are pleased with tonight's effort and we are ready to head to the next race in Texas."
Hendrick's sixth-place finish gave him Top Rookie of the race honors and gave him the lead for Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. With just four racing remaining in the 24-race NCTS season, Hendrick is sixth in the NCTS season championship chase, just 168 markers out of first place.
Hendrick and his Team GMAC crew will return to the track Friday, October 5 at Texas Motor Speedway for the Chevy Silverado 350. The race will be telecast live on ESPN at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.