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Team GMAC Takes 21st at Chicagoland

  • Jul 16, 2002

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 16, 2002)—Ricky Hendrick had everything going for him as he took the green flag in the Tropicana Twister 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Unfortunately, the day took a number of unscripted turns and the young driver had to settle for a 21st-place finish at the 1.5-mile Joliet, Ill., track.

“Something got us again today,” said Hendrick. “Everything started off so well, but we had some trouble in the pits. We were penalized for speeding down pit road and ended up three laps down.

“It was a tough day. We kept making adjustments and the car kept getting better, but the luck turned on us and we had a very disappointing finish.”

Hendrick posted his best qualifying effort of the 2002 season at Chicagoland, turning in the seventh-best time of the session with a speed of 177.877 mph (30.358 seconds).

“We had an early draw for qualifying and that turned out to be a good thing, “said Hendrick. “The track just kept getting hotter. Everything I felt during practice was magnified and I’m sure it only got worse as the afternoon went on.

“I hoped we would stick in the top 10 and we did. It was our best run of the season and we were thrilled.”

Hendrick’s day went according to plan, running in the top 15 for most of the event. His day went south when his final pit stop ran long and he was called back to pit road by NASCAR for a speeding penalty as he re-entered the competition. When he finally got back to racing, Hendrick was 24th on the leaderboard and out of contention.

Despite the bad break, Hendrick rallied in the closing laps, posting his fastest times of the event to gain three positions before taking the checkered flag. Hendrick earned $20,570 for the 21st -place effort and moved up one spot in driver points to 26th position.

“This team will never quit,” said Hendrick. “We will be back next week and the week after that. I always say that how you behave when times are tough is the measure of a good team. We will hang together and grow together and overcome this.

“We will be ready for St. Louis.”

Hendrick and Team GMAC will take the green flag at Gateway International Raceway for the Charter Pipeline 250 on Saturday, July 20. The event will be telecast live on TNT (8 p.m. EDT) and broadcast as it happens on MRN Radio (7:30 p.m. EDT).

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