Jimmy Hensley NCTS Bakersfield Pre-Event Release

BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 22, 2000) - After a fifth-place finish in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Mesa Marin Raceway, you can't blame Jimmy Hensley for looking forward to this weekend's Dodge California 250 at the ...

BAKERSFIELD, CA. (March 22, 2000) - After a fifth-place finish in last year's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Mesa Marin Raceway, you can't blame Jimmy Hensley for looking forward to this weekend's Dodge California 250 at the Bakersfield, CA bullring. "I always look forward to racing at Bakersfield," said Hensley, known in NASCAR circles as 'the Virginia Gentleman'. "Bakersfield has some of the best race fans we see all year and I'm excited about going back this year. I've always run well at Bakersfield ever since we started going there in the Trucks. It's just that some of our finishes haven't shown how well we did. I've had cut tires and some close skirmishes that hurt our finishes. I've also had a couple of Top-5 finishes, last year being one of them." This year, Hensley enters the Mesa Marin race behind the wheel of the #16 Team Rensi Chevrolet. A fixture in the #43 Richard Petty Dodge the previous two seasons, Hensley doesn't see much of a competitive advantage between brands at the moment. "I really think the parity between the three makes is pretty equal right now, at least based on the first three races," said Hensley. "A Ford won at Daytona, a Chevy at Homestead and a Dodge won last week at Phoenix. I don't see any manufacturer with an advantage. NASCAR has done a great job keeping everything equal." While riding a Chevy instead of a Dodge this time around might not be too big of a difference, Hensley is quick to point out his Team Rensi bunch doesn't quite have the experience of the Richard Petty organization. At least not yet, anyway. "Our team is just now beginning to come into its own," said Hensley, who raced into the Top-10 before engine woes saddled him with a 15th-place finish last week at Phoenix. "Ed and Sam Rensi bought all the equipment from the Dale Earnhardt organization that Ron Hornaday drove last year. They bought it late in the year and Daytona came up on us real quick. I think the guys on this team have done a super job of putting good trucks on the track, we've just had a couple of situations where things didn't go our way. "At Daytona we had a good truck - actually turned the fastest laps of anyone during the race - but we got caught up in the big accident," Hensley continued. "That ended our day. If we'd have made it through the wreck, I think we'd have had a real shot of at least a Top-5 and maybe a win. At Homestead, we just missed the set up by a little bit. The tracks that are coming up - Bakersfield, and especially Martinsville - are the kind I think we'll do well on. We need to go to Bakersfield and put together a solid Top-5 run and then we can get ready to go home to Martinsville. We won there last year and we're really looking forward to going back. I'd like nothing better than to win at Bakersfield and Martinsville and I don't see any reason why we can't do that." The Dodge California 250 at Mesa Marin Raceway gets underway with practice and qualifying on Friday, March 24. The 250-lap event on the Bakersfield half-mile oval will take the green flag at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast live by MRN radio. The event will telecast on a same-day, tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Richard Petty , Jimmy Hensley