Hendrick, GMAC Chevy Take Windy City Challenge In Chicago CICERO, IL (August 13, 2001) - Every race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is special for one reason or another. The Sears Craftsman 175 is unique to the series because Chicago is...
Hendrick, GMAC Chevy Take Windy City Challenge In Chicago
CICERO, IL (August 13, 2001) - Every race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is special for one reason or another. The Sears Craftsman 175 is unique to the series because Chicago is home to the series title sponsor, Sears Craftsman. Ricky Hendrick and Team GMAC know they will be in for a surprise when they hit the track at Chicago Motor Speedway on Saturday.
"I don't even know what to expect," said Hendrick, driver of the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado. "We have never been to this track to test or race. We have no idea what to expect and that presents a real challenge. Last year, there were two test dates as well as the race. Those guys were really prepared. We are going to have to figure it out in the two hour practice session."
Saturday's race marks the second appearance of the Truck Series at at Chicago Motor Speedway. Last year, NASCAR returned to Chicago after a 45-year hiatus. In 1956, Fireball Roberts led every lap to win the race at half-mile paved track at Soldier Field. The Truck Series race brings NASCAR full circle with a Winston Cup, Busch and the Craftsman Truck Series all racing in the Chicagoland area this summer.
"One of the reasons I love NASCAR is because of the rich history and tradition," said Hendrick. "Chicago is the perfect match for NASCAR. It's exciting when we can go into a new area and the fans are excited that we are there. Chicago seems really thrilled that NASCAR is back in town. We are making new history."
The flat, one-mile track promises to be a challenge for Hendrick for more than one reason. The event will also mark crew chief Lance McGrew's first trip to the Chicago track and he plans to rely on the experience of Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jack Sprague.
"We will use Jack's experience there and get set up the best we can," said MeGrew. "Getting the truck to turn through the corners will be really important at this track in particular. It will definitely be a challenge for Ricky. Chicago is really different than most of the other tracks where we haven't raced before. There are many more aspects to how he will have to drive and really adapt his style to the track. It will be a tough track for him, but Team GMAC will do its best to be ready for it."
Hendrick has had plenty of experience figuring out racetracks as the 21-year old Charlotte, NC native has been racing since he was six years old. Hendrick ran a select event campaign in both the Craftsman Trucks and Busch Series last year before Team GMAC made the decision to run a full 2001 NCTS effort.
"We are learning so much in the Craftsman Truck Series," said Hendrick. "Every track presents a challenge and the competition is pretty stiff. It's always a little intimidating when you go to a track for the first time. Racing is all about experience and we are working really hard to get as much as we can this year."
Hendrick and the team are right where they want to be two-thirds of the way through the 24-race schedule. Hendrick scored his first win at the inaugural race in Kansas this year and is XXX in championship points and XXX in the Raybestos Rookie of the year race.
"Every race counts," said Hendrick. "Everything is so close. The championship, rookie of the year and every single race could belong to anyone. It's very exciting, but it also means there is no room for error. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
The Sears Craftsman 175 at Chicago Motor Speedway will take the green flag at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday, August 18, and will be telecast live on ESPN. MRN Radio will also broadcast the event live.
GMAC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors since 1919, is the financial arm of the corporation. Through an original mission to provide wholesale and retail financing to GM dealers and customers and then to offer a variety of automotive insurance services, GMAC had provided $1 trillion to finance nearly 150 million cars and trucks worldwide. Over the last 15 years,
GMAC has greatly diversified into today entity of GMAC Financial Services, with some 29,000 employees at 700 facilities in 40 countries. Its offerings today also include residential and commercial mortgages; real estate and relocation services; special programs for members of the GM Family and GM Supplier community; and commercial financing. For more information on GMAC Financial Services products, log on to www.gmacfs.com.