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Hendrick Earns Top Finish of 2002 at Kentucky

  • Jun 18, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 18, 2002)—NASCAR Busch Series rookie Ricky Hendrick nailed down his first top-10 finish of the season, finishing eighth in Sunday’s rain-delayed Kroger 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

Hendrick’s performance at the Sparta, Ky., racetrack immediately became the highlight of an otherwise turbulent season for Team GMAC. The youngster has cracked the top 15 three times in 2002 with a trio of 15th-place finishes, but never managed a top-10 showing until Sunday’s event.

The race—delayed until Sunday due to torrential rain on Saturday—was the 10th of the season for Hendrick, who sat out six events after being sidelined by a shoulder injury suffered in a March accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Driving the No. 5 GMAC Chevrolet, Hendrick had the 14th-best qualifying time on Friday and paced the field in the final “Happy Hour” Busch Series practice Saturday. He followed those performances by quickly moving through the field to take the lead early in the 200-lap race before the event was postponed just 14 laps shy of the halfway point.

Among drivers with only 10 starts, Hendrick ranks second behind Michael Waltrip, who is two spots ahead of him in 26th overall.

Jack Sprague continues to lead the Busch Series driver standings after managing a 16th-place finish at Kentucky. The three-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion started the race in third after a quick qualifying run, but sustained damage to the No. 24 NetZero Chevy after an accident early in the event.

Sprague earned 115 points towards the Busch Series championship, losing ground to second-place Scott Riggs, who finished fourth on Sunday. Riggs is 64 off the pace, with Greg Biffle in third and Jason Keller in fourth.

The NASCAR Busch Series will visit The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis., for Saturday’s running of the GNC Live Well 250. The race will be carried live on MRN Radio affiliates and the FX television network beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

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