DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (Feb. 9, 2000) - Beginning your full-time NASCAR racing career at Daytona International Speedway has to be a lot like singing your first public concert at Carnegie Hall - exhilarating, but a little scary. That's exactly...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (Feb. 9, 2000) - Beginning your full-time NASCAR racing career at Daytona International Speedway has to be a lot like singing your first public concert at Carnegie Hall - exhilarating, but a little scary. That's exactly what Ricky Hendrick will be up against when he and his GMAC Financial Services No. 17 Chevrolet Silverado take the green flag in the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 Truck Series event at DIS Friday, Feb. 16. Hendrick, the son of legendary NASCAR team owner, Rick Hendrick, has proven he is up to the task so far, posting the top individual speed in practicing for the event last month. Now it's time to back it up on the ultra-fast 2.5-mile Daytona oval. "It's like a chess game," said Hendrick of racing at Daytona. " It's much more than just who has the best truck. A lot of it will depend on experience and perhaps, most importantly, patience. We are so fast. We've got a great truck. It'll be up to me to stay out of trouble and be there at the end. If we can do that, we have a great shot at winning." Last year, Hendrick competed in abbreviated campaigns in both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck and NASCAR Busch Series. The 20-year-old Charlotte, NC native showed plenty of talent posting four Top-10 finishes in just six NCTS starts. This year, Hendrick will take a full swing at the 24-event Truck Series slate and will have the benefit of being a teammate of two-time NCTS titlest Jack Sprague. "Jack has already been a huge benefit to me," said Hendrick. "He's a veteran and knows what these trucks are all about. Along with his crew chief, Dennis Connor, and my crew chief, Lance McGrew, there's a lot of experience behind me. That will definitely help me all season long." Hendrick is one of several drivers who will be eligible for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the year program. According to the young driver, that award will be hotly contested. "It's a tough and talented class this year," said Hendrick. "We certainly want to win Rookie of the Year honors, but we have other, bigger goals as well. We want to win a few races and finish in the Top-5 in points. That's what we're really after."
The Florida Dodge Dealers 250 will take the green flag at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, Friday, February 16. The event will be telecast live on ESPN.
- Mandy Smallwood