Hendrick Disappointed at Michigan
- Aug 20, 2002
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 20, 2002)—Ricky Hendrick had hopes for a top finish in his first-ever NASCAR Busch Series appearance at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, but a 23rd-place performance in the Cabela’s 250 left the driver of the No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo wanting more.
“I am always disappointed when I don’t feel like we finished where we should have,” said Hendrick. “Honestly, this team is so good and I feel like we deserved more today.
“This was my first time racing at Michigan and the guys tell me that I wouldn’t be a racer if finishes like this satisfied me. It was a good learning day, but I just can’t help but want more.”
Hendrick qualified 14th in the 43-car field after turning in a lap of 182.667 mph (39.416 seconds) on the two-mile Brooklyn, Mich., oval. Both Hendrick and his GMAC teammates were pleased with the effort, especially considering that their qualifying runs never quite came together at the two-day testing session one week prior to the event.
“It was a good qualifying run and we were very happy with it,” said Hendrick. “Our qualifying runs were terrible at our test. The car was good, but I just couldn’t get the hang of this track. It was hard to feel what to do and when to do it.
“Michigan is tough and it takes a lot of getting used to. I didn’t think I was there, but it came together and I only had to run one lap to get the time we wanted. We picked up significantly from the test and our qualifying run was an additional three-tenths of a second better than we practiced.”
The optimism that followed the qualifying effort was negated throughout the race as Hendrick fought the race track and an ill-handling race car. Crew chief Lance McGrew called for aggressive chassis adjustments on each of the seven caution-flag pit stops Hendrick made in an effort to give the 22-year-old Charlotte, N.C., native an edge.
The efforts caught the attention of team owner Rick Hendrick.
“I am so proud of Ricky and this team,” he said. “Ricky made the most aggressive moves that I have ever seen him make on a race track. He was running door-to-door with Randy LaJoie, a two-time Busch Series champion.
“I saw things today that really impressed me and we learned a lot in this race. We are building for the future and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Hendrick and his No. 5 GMAC Financial Services team will next take the green flag in the Food City 250 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Friday, August 23 at 8 p.m. EDT. The event will be telecast live on TNT and broadcast on PRN Radio.