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Hendrick Looking for Top-10 Finish at Gateway

  • Jul 20, 2002

MADISON, Ill. (July 20, 2002)—After a slow start to the 2002 season, Ricky Hendrick and his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo are finally reaching top form and aiming for a top-10 finish when the NASCAR Busch Series visits Gateway International Speedway for the Charter Pipeline 250 on Saturday.

“I really like Gateway, ” said Hendrick. “There is always really good racing there. The corners at each end of the race track are totally different. You can race two-wide and you have to shift to be fast. In a way, it’s like a mini Pocono (Pa.) International Raceway.

Hendrick has taken several turns on the 1.25-mile track outside the St. Louis city limits. In 2000, he drove the No. 24 GMAC Busch Series entry to a 38th-place finish after a faulty alternator derailed his efforts. The young driver’s 2001 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series exploits produced far better results as he piloted the No. 17 GMAC Silverado to a sixth-place finish.

“We’re always happy to run at a track where we have past experience and success,” said the 22-year-old Charlotte, N.C., native. “Every little bit helps and we are really looking for anything to help us turn the second half of this season around. So far, it seems like it’s working because we are racing and finishing better.

“We have proven we can finish in the top 10 here and we are out to do it again at Gateway.”

In addition to his own experience, Hendrick will have the benefit of having his Busch Series teammate Jack Sprague, a three-time truck series champion and a Gateway race winner in 2000, on hand.

The two drivers, along with crew chiefs Lance McGrew and Dennis Connor, will be looking to gang up on the Gateway oval in search of the best setup.

“Jack has really turned out to be a good friend,” said Hendrick. “He helps me whenever I need it and I do my best to help him whenever I can. When I am just hanging out, he always comes over to see what I’m doing.

“He knows we’ve struggled this season and he has raced for so long that his perspective really helps. As teammates, we really try to do what we can for each other.”

Hendrick and Team GMAC will take the green flag at Gateway International Raceway in the Charter Pipeline 250 on Saturday, July 20 at 7 p.m. EDT. The event will be televised live on NBC and broadcast as it happens on MRN Radio.

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