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Hendrick Settles for 20th Under the Lights

Hendrick Settles for 20th Under the Lights

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 9, 2002) -- Ricky Hendrick somehow managed to dodge a trio of wrecks before his luck finally ran out in the Stacker 2/GNC Live Well 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Friday night. "We knew we had a fast race car, but our finish just doesn't show it," said Hendrick after soldiering his damaged No. 5 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet Monte Carlo to a 20th-place finish in the event. "It's always a thrill to race at Daytona. You just want to finish the best you possibly can. “We made it through three wrecks and got caught up on the last one. I don't know how we made it through the first three, and we made it through the last one until someone hit us and hit us hard enough to rip the left side of the car off. We came in for damage control for the last three laps. “We almost brought home a whole race car." Hendrick started the race from the 15th position after qualifying at a speed of 182.852 mph (49.220 seconds) on the ultra-fast 2.5-mile Daytona oval. At the drop of the green flag, he wasted little time getting to the front, rolling into the top 10 just two laps into the event. "We got off to a good start and were really moving up," said Hendrick. "There is nothing like racing at Daytona. It is thrilling and scary at the same time. “You don't know if you have friends or not until you are out there looking for them. The bottom lane was fast. We did our best to stay down there. We were fighting every lap." The fast and tight racing conditions produced seven cautions and one of them proved to be a problem for Hendrick midway through the event. "We had a tough day in the pits," said Hendrick. "We came in under caution, but the pits weren't open. A bunch of other teams did it too and we had to start at the tail end of the longest line. We were 26th on the board, but 36th on the track. “It's really tough to come back from something like that.” “We fought the rest of the race and were working back up when we got tangled up in that last wreck,” he continued. “We just kept fighting all day. It was all we could do." Hendrick earned $21,315 for the effort and is now 27th in the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series championship standings despite missing six events earlier this season due to injury. Team GMAC will next take the green flag at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., for the Hills Brothers Coffee 300 on Saturday, July 13 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. The event will be telecast live on NBC and broadcast as it happens on MRN Radio.