CLERMONT, IN (August 3, 2001) -The Power Stroke 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park had all the ingredients another NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win for Ricky Hendrick and his No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet. Unfortunately, the night ...
CLERMONT, IN (August 3, 2001) -The Power Stroke 200 at Indianapolis Raceway Park had all the ingredients another NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win for Ricky Hendrick and his No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet. Unfortunately, the night yielded an 18th-place finish, but gave no indication of the tremendous effort given by Hendrick and Team GMAC
"We had a good truck today," said Hendrick. "We led a lot of laps today and felt like if things kept going our way we had a real shot at Victory Lane. Things definitely didn't keep going our way and the luck ran out. It's just a shame, especially when you know you have a good truck. We started and finished 18th. You might think we had an uneventful race, but it really was just the opposite. We had it all tonight."
Crew chief Lance McGrew got Hendrick to the front early in the 200-lap event on the .696-mile IRP oval skipping tires and adjustments on the first three cautions. The strategy paid off when Hendrick took the lead on Lap-74 and holding the point for the next 30 circuits.
"We really had something going for the first half of the race," stated Hendrick. "We got up front and were pulling away from the pack. We knew we would have to pit, but we got a caution when we needed it and we were right on track."
Although his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jack Sprague beat Hendrick out of the pits when the No. 17 GMAC Silverado finally stopped for service, the 11-second stop kept Hendrick among the front runners. It also guaranteed Team GMAC that they could make the remainder of the race on fuel mileage.
"We took some good chances with the pit strategy," said Hendrick. "We all knew track position was really important in this race. The truck was really loose, but I held on and a third of the way through the race we were leading it. "
Hendrick's good fortune came to a grinding halt on Lap 129 when he got together with Ted Musgrave as they raced hard into Turn 1. The collision forced Hendrick to steer his red, white and blue GMAC flyer into the pits for left side tires and a quick check for damage.
"We got caught up in an unfortunate incident with Musgrave and I did a complete spin on the track," said Hendrick, who won $8,640 in prize money. " We recovered from that and we thought we were fine. Then, as we were working our way back through the pack, Coy Gibbs and I got tangled up. We were ok, but there just weren't enough laps to get caught up. We couldn't have asked for any more from the first half of the race, but we just couldn't recover from the second half. It's too bad."
Despite the disappointing finish, Hendrick retained the lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award chase Team GMAC dropped one spot in the NCTS season championship race from fourth to fifth, but is a mere 122 markers out of first place.
"We just had a bad night," said Hendrick. "It's racing and it happens. We had it all tonight from starting pretty far back, leading laps, surviving a 360 degree turn on the track and a collision. The GMAC Chevy got beat up pretty bad tonight, but we fought hard and we are proud of that. We will see what we have for them next week in Nashville."
The Federated Auto Parts 200 at Nashville Superspeedway will take the green flag at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Friday, August 10, and will be telecast live on ESPN. MRN Radio will also broadcast the 16th of 24 NCTS events this season.