Hendrick Mesa Marin post event release

Hendrick, Gmac Chevy Finish Eighth In Bakersfield Short-Track Shoot Out BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 17, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued to prove he has the talent to match his Hendrick Motorsports equipment steering the No.17 GMAC Financial ...

Hendrick, Gmac Chevy Finish Eighth In Bakersfield Short-Track Shoot Out BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 17, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued to prove he has the talent to match his Hendrick Motorsports equipment steering the No.17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado to a hard fought eighth-place finish in the OSH 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Mesa Marin Raceway Saturday. "We were disappointed with qualifying, but once we started racing the whole team knew we had a great truck," said Hendrick, who started from the 20th position. "We were really fast and we ended the day in one piece. From what I hear that's a real accomplishment at Bakersfield. The way everyone talked in the driver's meeting, it seemed like we would all take home piles of scrap metal. Team GMAC was strong all day. We were definitely better today than the way we started the weekend." Hendrick drove a smart race. He quickly moved into the Top-15 early in the race and by the 70th circuit was running seventh. Guided by crew chief Lance McGrew, strong pit strategy and cautiously managed tire wear on the abrasive Mesa Marin half-mile oval kept Hendrick in the hunt of another Top-10 finish throughout the race. "Patience is key at a track like this." Hendrick stated. "But too much patience will get you knocked a lap down and they are hard to get back on these short, tight tracks. I fought my way up front because I had to. I told the team on the radio, 'I'm going to work now,' and we kept digging our way to the front. I hardly got to use my mirror. I had to watch what was going on in front of me. My spotter really had to work today." Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jack Sprague, and Hendrick hooked up after the final pit stop, slicing through the field settling in third and fourth positions. They looked to be unstoppable, posting some of the fastest lap speeds of the race as Sprague advanced to second in the final laps. Hendrick, meanwhile, wasn't as lucky as a last lap encounter with Joe Ruttman dropped the Team GMAC four spots in the final running order. "It was tough out there," Hendrick stated. " I knew there would be beating and banging, but it got real rough at the end. Sometimes, we were the fastest truck out there, but on the short tracks at the end of the race, there are no friends. We got run down real low with three laps to go and a few trucks slid by us. I wish we had more to show for the awesome pit stops and great set up we had going for us, but I'll take a Top-10 finish any day. I just can't say enough about how hard these guys worked to get us running well today." Hendrick again took the Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors keeping him first in the Rookie of the Year standings. The top finish also kept the 20-year-old driver in the chase for the division points championship, tied for third with Sprague and Ted Musgrave, just 23 markers out of first. The effort was Hendrick's third Top-10 finish in as many NCTS races this season and earned him $8,250 in prize money. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series moves on to Martinsville, Va. for the fourth of 24 races season Saturday, April 7. The Advance Auto Parts 250 will take the green flag falls at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN.

-Hendrick Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ted Musgrave , Ricky Hendrick , Jack Sprague
Teams Hendrick Motorsports