DOVER, DE (May 31, 2001) - The "Monster Mile" at Dover Downs International Speedway has devoured many a race driver since opening in 1969. Despite the carnivorous nature of the track, Ricky Hendrick isn't afraid to battle the monster as he...
DOVER, DE (May 31, 2001) - The "Monster Mile" at Dover Downs International Speedway has devoured many a race driver since opening in 1969. Despite the carnivorous nature of the track, Ricky Hendrick isn't afraid to battle the monster as he heads into the MBNA E-Commerce.com 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race this weekend.
"We've got a lot of things going for us," said the driver of the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado. "We've been to Dover before - we survived - and we've learned a lot since last year. I'm really looking forward to getting back there. The track is really challenging to the driver and the fans are great. You can actually hear them cheering."
Hendrick started 15th in last year's Dover NCTS event and ran well before a mechanical problem resulted in a 25th-place finish. Hendrick knows he'll have to conquer the ultra-tough one-mile Dover oval in order to finish near or at the front of the pack this time around.
"You can really build some speed with the high banking at Dover," said Hendrick. "It feels like you are on a rocket ship when you come flying off the banking in the corners. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing easy about this track. You have to have everything is dialed in. That's what we are hoping for on Friday."
In addition to the high speeds, tire wear will also be a factor this weekend.
"Everyone is worried about their tires at Dover," said Team GMAC crew chief Lance McGrew. " We haven't tested there, but the reports I've heard are pretty scary with the new tires. That track has destroyed a lot of cars and trucks. We will have to be very cautious."
Hendrick has been cautious but effective so far this season posting three Top-5 and three Top-10 finishes in seven events. A leading candidate for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award, Hendrick's early season success has also put him in the thick of the NCTS championship chase. A solid run or a win at Dover this weekend would go far in positioning the 21-year-old Charlotte, NC native for a run at both titles.
"I think we have a chance to win," stated Hendrick. "We've been strong all season and I expect we will be the same at Dover. This Hendrick Motorsports team gives me a great truck every week, one that's capable of running up front and winning the race. We've knocked on the door a couple of times this season. Maybe this is the weekend we put the GMAC Financial Services Silverado in Victory Lane."
The MBNA E-Commerce 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway will take the green flag at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Friday, June 1, and will be telecast on a same-day, tape-delayed basis at 8 p.m. by ESPN. The race will be broadcast live as it happens by MRN radio.