Pikes Peak Ricky Hendrick preview

FOUNTAIN, CO (May 12, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick is poised at the peak of success as he returns to the track in Colorado where he posted his best finish of the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In 2001, the driver of the No. 17 GMAC Financial...

FOUNTAIN, CO (May 12, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick is poised at the peak of success as he returns to the track in Colorado where he posted his best finish of the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In 2001, the driver of the No. 17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Silverado hopes his early season success will continue when he takes on a peak of another kind - Pikes Peak International Raceway - in the Jelly Belly 200.

"When you are at the top of Pikes Peak, you feel like you're falling off the top of the world," said Hendrick of the beautiful area surrounding the one-mile PPIR facility. "Colorado Springs is a truly awesome place and they've got a great racetrack there too. The fans are great, the track is fast and it's really fun to race here. I've been looking forward to coming back here since we raced here last year."

Hendrick has good reason to be eager to return to the PPIR oval. The 21-year old Charlotte, NC native made his first-ever Craftsman Truck Series start at PPIR a year ago rolling to a season-best sixth-place finish in the Grainger.com 200. The effort was bittersweet, however, as Hendrick's red, white and blue GMAC Chevy Silverado was leading late in the race only to be forced to the pits with a flat tire.

"We should have won that race," Hendrick stated. "We were half a second faster than the other trucks when our right front tire went down. After that, we had to catch back up and we got all we could, but we should have won that race. The guys of Team GMAC are ready to do it again, but this time we want to take the checkered flag. We all can feel that our first victory is near. This team is dialed in."

As part of the dialing in process Hendrick and the team will have a "play day" in the Colorado Springs area. It's all part of the strategy at Hendrick Motorsports to keep the team together and allow them to have some fun in a beautiful place according to Hendrick.

"We will be in the third week of a 12 straight weekend stretch." Hendrick said." It will be great to laugh and relax with the team away from the daily grind at the racetrack. That the kind of stuff keeps us together. It reminds us that we are all just guys who love racing. I just can't say enough about this team. They work so hard and so many hours. They truly give it everything they've got. I am nothing without these guys. Team GMAC is having such a great year because of them."

Following a disappointing 34th place finish in the most recent event on the NCTS tour, the Darlington 200 at Darlington (SC) Raceway, Hendrick and his Team GMAC mates sit ninth in the season championship points race. Hendrick dropped to second in a class of 14 candidates for the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle behind Travis Kvapil by a mere nine points.

The green flag will fall on the Jelly Belly 200 at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 17. The race will be telecast live on ESPN and broadcast on MRN radio.

-Mandy Smallwood

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ricky Hendrick , Travis Kvapil