Hendrick Hopes He's Closing In On First Daytona Win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 22, 2002) - Last year during Speedweeks, Ricky Hendrick had two excellent opportunities to win his first race at Daytona International Speedway, but came up short...
Hendrick Hopes He's Closing In On First Daytona Win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 22, 2002) - Last year during Speedweeks, Ricky Hendrick had two excellent opportunities to win his first race at Daytona International Speedway, but came up short both times.
Hendrick led the most laps in the Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race but missed a shift on a late restart and settled for a ninth-place finish.
In the Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Hendrick once again challenged for a victory, but finished second behind veteran Joe Ruttman.
After last year's close calls at a Daytona victory, Hendrick is feeling confident about his chances entering the Feb. 16 EAS/GNC Live Well 300, which will kick off his first full season in the Busch Series.
He'll be driving the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet owned by his father and multi-team Winston Cup owner Rick Hendrick.
"We should have won the ARCA race and I messed up," said the 21-year-old Hendrick. "It cost us a win. Then we got in the Truck race and finished second. For me coming back here, it's like homecoming time. We felt like we did so well in our first couple of races at Daytona (last year) and we're coming back in the Busch car this year and we have a good shot at a top 10."
Hendrick, who finished sixth in last year's Craftsman Truck Series points standings and became the youngest winner in NCTS history with a victory at Kansas Speedway, shook down both a Chevrolet and a Pontiac during this week's two-day test at Daytona.
So far, the Chevrolet has been faster. On Tuesday, Hendrick posted a lap of 182.652 mph, which was the third fastest lap of the day in the non-drafting session.
Hendrick, who will definitely use the Chevrolet in February, says if he could capture a win at Daytona International Speedway, it would have an impact on the entire season.
"The biggest thing about this place is this is our Super Bowl," Hendrick said. "If you come here and run well, it's bragging rights for the rest of the year. It doesn't compare to any other track besides Talladega. Daytona is Daytona. It's so prestigious to come out here with (just) a top 10. If we were blessed enough to win this race, I don't know what I would do."
The second wave of NASCAR Busch Series teams will test at the Speedway on Thursday and Friday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
Some of the drivers expected to attend the two-day test session include Scott Riggs, Kenny Wallace, Randy LaJoie, Andy Houston, Hank Parker Jr. and Jimmy Spencer.
Tickets for the EAS/GNC Live Well 300 and other Speedweeks 2002 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.