DARLINGTON, SC (May 12, 2001) Dark clouds loomed on the horizon as Ricky Hendrick and the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet took the green flag from the outside pole position of the Darlington 200. Turning fast laps in third position, ...
DARLINGTON, SC (May 12, 2001) Dark clouds loomed on the horizon as Ricky Hendrick and the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet took the green flag from the outside pole position of the Darlington 200. Turning fast laps in third position, Hendrick met with disaster on the 39th circuit dashing the team's hopes of victory.
"We got caught up with a lap car that spun us around, Hendrick said."
"After the right rear tire blew out the truck didn't look that bad, but it was a little bit worse than what it appeared. I just hate it because we were running third and running strong. I think we would have finished in the Top-Three. It's just one of those deals that is part of racing. It's not the first time and it definitely won't be the last."
On the 38th circuit, Bobby Dotter checked into Hendrick causing him to spin and hit the wall. The left front tire went down while racing back to the line to avoid losing a lap the right rear tire went down seriously damaging the rear end of the truck. Team GMAC rallied in the garage and worked furiously to get the red, white and blue Chevy Silverado back on the track for precious championship points.
"I hate it for the team," the 21-year old Charlotte native stated. " The team was so pumped when Jack and I were starting first and second. We knew we were good and thought the two Hendrick teams would be racing for the checkered flag at the end of the race. It just wasn't in the cards with the Man Upstairs tonight."
Returning to the track on lap 103, Team GMAC picked up one spot for a 34th place finish. Far from the hopes of victory, only the consolation of his father could cheer the young rookie.
"Ricky, you came to Darlington and ran like Jack the Bear, " said three-time Winston Cup Champion Team owner Rick Hendrick. "You can't help what happened to you out there. We tried to rush you into the pits with a flat and that was our fault, we couldn't see it. Be proud Buddy. You did a great job."
With the accident coming so early in the race, Hendrick relinquished the lead for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year award to Travis Kvapil. Team GMAC dropped five spots to ninth position in the Championship Points race. The race ended with a rain out on lap 135 of 147 laps.
Next up for Hendrick and his Team GMAC mates will be the Jelly Belly 200 at Pike Peak International Raceway. The event on the historic one-mile track will take the green flag Sunday, May 20, at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and will be televised by ESPN and broadcast by MRN radio.