DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (February 16, 2002) - Ricky Hendrick looked to be on his way to a Top-10 finish in the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway only to have a late-race accident saddle the driver of the No. 5...
DAYTONA BEACH, FL. (February 16, 2002) - Ricky Hendrick looked to be on his way to a Top-10 finish in the season-opening NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway only to have a late-race accident saddle the driver of the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a 27th-place finish.
"We got tangled up in a wreck," said Hendrick of the Lap 103 incident. "That's all there is to it. It seems like we were doing pretty well and had our eye on a Top-10, but then Greg Biffle wrecked and we ended up in the middle of it. I'm not blaming anyone. We would have been thrilled with a Top-10, but we just didn't get it today."
Initially, the damage to Hendrick's red, white and blue race seemed to be a simple bent hood. A closer look by crew chief Lance McGrew revealed there was more to it calling Hendrick in to replace a broken radiator. Now behind pit wall, Hendrick's Team GMAC pit crew quickly repaired the damage to get the 21-year-old driver back on the track prior to the conclusion of the 120-circuit event.
"Of course we wanted more, said Hendrick, who finished second in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona last year. "Racing at Daytona feels like being on a playground. You get to race fast with great guys in great equipment. It isn't always fun out here and we knew that, but we really learned that today. I still love this track, and racing is the only thing I want to do."
Hendrick started the 44th-annual Daytona Busch Series event from the ninth starting position and consistently stayed in the lead draft throughout the first 100 laps.
"We were pleased starting in the Top-10 and the goal today was to stay patient and out of trouble." said Hendrick. "We soon realized we didn't have many friends out there and with the draft out here, friends are crucial. It's going to take time for the other drivers to get comfortable with me. We were really tight, but we were doing just fine out there. I learned a lot, but the day definitely didn't end the way we wanted."
The less than desired finish netted Hendrick $28,275 in prize money and 82 championship points.
Up next for Hendrick and his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services team will be the 1-866-RBCTEAM.com 200 at North Carolina Speedway. The Saturday, February 23 event will take the green flag at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be telecast live on FOX and broadcast worldwide on more than 300 MRN Radio affiliated stations.