MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 7, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued his string of impressive performances scoring his fourth straight Top-10 finish rolling to a ninth-place effort in the Advance Auto Parts at Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick, who turned...
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (April 7, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued his string of impressive performances scoring his fourth straight Top-10 finish rolling to a ninth-place effort in the Advance Auto Parts at Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick, who turned 21 earlier in the week, is the only series rookie to finish in the Top-10 in every NCTS event this season.
"I'm really grateful for our ninth place finish today," said Hendrick. "I knew what we had going into the race and this is much more than we hoped for. The guys did a good job and the GMAC Financial Services Chevy ran up front most of the race. We ran second for 25 laps or so, pitted late and still finished ninth. We cleared two big wrecks and you've always got to be grateful for that. It's another Top-10 finish for Team GMAC. We'll take that"
Hendrick started the race from 19th position and struggled in the early going on the difficult half-mile Martinsville track with minimal banking. Combined with excessive heat in the truck, the day proved to be quite a challenge for the young driver.
"There was no air coming in the truck and it was very hot, " Hendrick stated. "It's all stamina. You go as long as your body can go. We didn't get to a point that was so grueling that I couldn't drive or anything, but it was really starting to wear on me. It's a real workout to run 250 laps here."
Another great pit stop as the Team GMAC crew send Ricky Hendrick and the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado back to the track in record time. The team practices pit stops regularly to improve their speed and efficiency. It's helped them achieve four out of four Top-10 finishes this season. Photo: Courtesy of Motorsports Management Group
Starting from the tail end of the longest line after a NASCAR imposed penalty for a pit road infraction, Hendrick narrowly avoided disaster driving through a wreck that destroyed four trucks right in front of him.
"We all try hard," said Hendrick of the penalty. "We left a right front tire on the track. We're going to make some mistakes. That's why it's a team sport. I make mistakes and sometimes the guys make a mistake. Luckily starting from the back helped us. We missed getting tangled up in a wreck that swept up most of the field. The man upstairs has got a plan and thankfully we were in it."
Hendrick continued his march through the field eventually working his way to second with just over 90 laps remaining. The eventual ninth-place finish earned the young driver $7,550 in prize money and kept him in the heat of the championship chase. Hendrick is still third in the standings, just 38 points out of first place.
Prior to the event, Hendrick's father, Rick, was honored as just one of two team owners to field a truck in all 150 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events (the other is Jim Smith). The significance of the award was not lost on the elder Hendrick.
"I'm really proud to be here," stated the elder Hendrick. " We have been a part of the Craftsman Truck Series since the beginning. This is a great series and I'm proud watching Ricky and the team race in it."
Hendrick and his Team GMAC crew will return to the track May 6 at Gateway International Raceway for the Ram Tough 200. The race will be telecast live on ESPN at 4 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time and will be broadcast worldwide by MRN Radio.