HOMESTEAD, FL. (Feb. 23, 2000) - Ricky Hendrick returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway this week full of confidence after a solid second-place finish in the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Unlike...
HOMESTEAD, FL. (Feb. 23, 2000) - Ricky Hendrick returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway this week full of confidence after a solid second-place finish in the season-opening NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Unlike Daytona, Hendrick has some experience at the Homestead track after competing in the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series finale. HHendrick qualified 12th and spent most of the day in the Top-10 only to be eliminated in a crash. This time, he's looking for more. "I feel really good having the GMAC Financial Services Chevy Silverado second in the Truck Series standings heading into Homestead." Hendrick said, "I learned a lot the last time I raced there and don't plan to make any rookie mistakes. The Trucks are different than the Busch cars, but I'm learning everything I can from both series. Hopefully I got a lot of the rookie bugs worked out last year. "
Hendrick showed he had everything worked out at Daytona nearly pulling off the win at the 'World's Center of Speed.' Fighting fellow rookie Scott Riggs and veteran Joe Ruttman for the win over the last two laps after a restart, the 20-year-old driver came up just short of victory at the checkered flag. "We had a shot at Ruttman," Hendrick stated. " I was hoping Riggs would stay behind me off of Turn 4 and we could have the momentum to come down on Ruttman and get the win. It was every man for himself on the last lap. Riggs made his move on Turn 3, I made my move on Turn 4. We didn't get Joe and luckily we held on to second." Meanwhile, Rick Hendrick, the young driver's father and team owner, watched from the top of the pit box experiencing both nervousness and pride watching his son compete at Daytona.
"I was shaking so bad I couldn't even get my finger on the radio button," stated the elder Hendrick. " I was trying to tell him what to do, but what do I know? I've never raced at Daytona. I'm so proud of him. He did a great job. I just couldn't believe my son was fighting for the win at Daytona. It was a great feeling."
Hendrick showed he would be just as competitive at Homestead-Miami Speedway unofficially breaking the old track record in pre-season testing. Hendrick posted top the speed of 150.797 mph, shattering the previous official mark set by Hut Stricklin at 149.456 mph.
"Homestead is different than a lot of tracks," he stated "It's long and flat with wide turns and no banking. It's truly a unique place, there's nothing like it. If I do well on a track, then I like it. We had a good run going in the Busch car until we got wrecked. I'm definitely looking forward to racing Homestead again."
While Hendrick would like nothing better than to put his No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevy in Victory Lane at Homestead, he also knows a top finish will keep him in the NCTS season championship chase.
"Our goal is to keep the big picture in mind," said Hendrick of the points battle. "Don't get me wrong, we want our first win real bad. We also want to stay on top of the points. Including Homestead, there are 23 races to go. I know this Hendrick Motorsports team is capable of getting me a championship. They work hard to get the right set up and it's up to me to bring it home. I don't want to let anyone down."
The green flag will fall on the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at noon on Sunday, March 4. The race will be telecast live on ESPN.
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.