DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (Feb. 8, 2002) - Last year, Ricky Hendrick passed a pair of freshman exams at Daytona International Speedway with flying colors. This time around, the driver of the new No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (Feb. 8, 2002) - Last year, Ricky Hendrick passed a pair of freshman exams at Daytona International Speedway with flying colors. This time around, the driver of the new No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR Busch Series entry is looking for even better test results.
"We are so excited to be back here," stated Hendrick, who finished second in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race and ninth in the ARCA event at Daytona last year. "We ran in the ARCA race to get some experience for the Truck Series event. After leading most of the ARCA race, I made a rookie mistake on the final restart and finished ninth. We were able to take the knowledge gained from that event into the Truck race and it paid off nearly winning that event. With a full year of experience behind us, we're at Daytona again - this time for the Busch Series race. I love Daytona - it is so fast. I'm really looking forward to racing there with this new GMAC Busch Series team."
After a strong 2001 NCTS campaign that produced a pair of division records - the youngest driver to win a race (Kansas City) and the most Top-10 finishes (19) in a rookie season - Hendrick will be part of a two-car, one-team Busch Series effort. Hendrick Motorsports will also field a car for Jack Sprague, Hendrick's teammate in the Truck Series last year. That year-long quality experience in the Truck Series has allowed the 21-year-old Hendrick to make the jump to the Busch Series this season.
"Out experience in the Truck Series was invaluable," said Hendrick. "We learned so much and we will use every bit of it in the Busch Series. Team GMAC is very excited about our goals for this year. We are hoping to finish the season in the Top-10 in points and we would really like to win a race. We want to be competitive in every race, but I know that there will be a lot of drivers who know more tricks on the racetrack. I know we will have good equipment, but there will be a lot of drivers who have been doing this for a lot longer than I have."
The team, a first-ever full NBS effort for the famed Hendrick Motorsports organization, was hitting on all eight cylinders in Daytona pre-season testing turning a lap of 49.274 seconds (182.652 miles per hour), good enough to be the fastest in the final of four NASCAR Busch Series practice non-drafting practice sessions.
"We came away from the test with a good feeling about where we were and we gained a bunch of information that we think will make us even better when we come back for the race," said Hendrick. "We came within an eyelash of winning the Truck Series race at Daytona last year and we think we can win the Busch Series race this year. I'm not a rookie at Daytona anymore and I have a great car, team and sponsor to back me up. We expect to run well. If we get the right luck, we could win. That's something you can get excited about."
Hendrick and his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services team will take the green flag in the 44th-annual EAS/GNC Live Well 300 Saturday, February 16 at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The event will be telecast live on TNT and broadcast worldwide on more than 300 MRN Radio affiliated stations.
ABOUT GMAC -
In addition to automotive financing, GMAC Financial Services provides insurance, mortgages and commercial financing. GMAC, with 29,000 employees in 40 countries, has extended more than $1 trillion in credit to finance 150 million cars and trucks. A subsidiary of General Motors Corporation since 1919, GMAC recorded 2001 earnings of $1.8 billion.