CONCORD, NC. (May 26, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued to prove he has the talent to match his Hendrick Motorsports equipment steering the No.17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a hard fought 18th-place finish in the CARQUEST...
CONCORD, NC. (May 26, 2001) - Ricky Hendrick continued to prove he has the talent to match his Hendrick Motorsports equipment steering the No.17 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a hard fought 18th-place finish in the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowes Motor Speedway Saturday.
"It's just so hard when you know you are so much better," stated Hendrick. "We were better than where we finished, much better. This was our first NASCAR Busch Series race this year and we wanted to do so much better. The good thing is that we learned a lot. We were here to learn. Our focus this year is on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. What we learned today will really help us in Truck Series championship battle and the Raybestos Rookie of The Year chase."
It wasn't for lack of effort that Hendrick's GMAC Monte Carlo wasn't in the battle for the top spot. After rain canceled qualifying relegating Hendrick to a 37th place start in the 43-car field, the 21-year-old Charlotte native got off to a rough start when he spun exiting Turn 2 on Lap 4 of the event.
Quick pit work repaired the minimal damage on Hendrick's Chevy. The action was hardly over, however, as another wreck directly in the path of Hendrick sent him into infield grass. Hendrick showed veteran skill in keeping his Monte Carlo fully intact through that incident as well as several near misses throughout the remainder of the 200-lap event on the high-speed, 1.5-mile Charlotte oval. In the end, the 18th-place finish earned Hendrick $12,380 in prize money and, more importantly, a priceless amount of experience.
"It was wild out there," Hendrick stated. "We had to work pretty hard to stay out of a few wrecks. I was trying to hunt and peck through the field as fast as I could. We were in the Top-15 for a while, but we couldn't break through to finish higher. Eighteenth was all we could do today. The guys were great. Their pit stops were awesome. Most importantly, we learned a lot. Are we disappointed? Of course, but we all tried our best and we learned some things that will help us in the future. We're focused on the Craftsman Truck Series and we will be in Dover next week a little wiser and a little more experienced."
Next up for Hendrick and his Team GMAC Financial Services mates will be a return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wars and a battle on the "Monster Mile" at Dover (DE) Downs International Speedway, Friday, June 1. The eighth of 24 NCTS races this season, the MBNA E-Commerce 200, will take the green flag at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will be broadcast live on MRN and telecast on a same-day, tape-delayed basis by ESPN at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.