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NASCAR Trucks: Rookie Ricky Hendrick Top Chevy in Qualifying at Daytona

Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
TUESDAY, FEB. 13, 2001

RICKY HENDRICK, #17 GMAC/HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET SILVERADO, was the top-qualifying Chevrolet today, placing fifth behind four Dodges. He was second quickest rookie in the field, with his 49.269/182.671 lap.

HENDRICK: "I'm extremely happy to be in the top five. The guys did a great job. There's not a whole lot I did out there. I just kind of steered it. The guys worked long hours, going to the wind tunnel and getting the truck ready for Daytona. And for the both of us, Jack (Sprague, teammate in the #24 NetZero Silverado) and me, being fifth and sixth, that's close. I don't know any other two-truck teams out here who are this close together. Now it's just a matter of us getting into the race and Jack and I trying to hook up and getting together and biding our time." THIS IS YOUR FIRST RACE AT DAYTONA, WERE YOU READY TO QUALIFY WELL? "Same thing. We tested here a few weeks ago. It's a little different from the restrictor plate racing that I did last Sunday. The truck gets up to speed a little better than the ARCA car did. Now it's just be patient and get to the race and Jack and I trying to get these Silverados drafting together, sticking together and staying patient. If we do that we will stay up front." ON BEING THE FIRST CHEVROLET: "That's pretty cool. That's the guys. I can't say enough about Lance (McGrew), Dennis (Connor) and the whole crew, because the numbers you see on the board, that's their work. It's nothing Jack and I did." ON THE DODGES TAKING TOP FOUR SPOTS: "I think it's obvious right now that the Dodges have the advantage by themselves. When you go from a 49.26 in fifth to almost a second faster in first place (48.355), I think it's fair to say that the Dodges have a little bit of a leg up on us now. In order for the three manufacturers to be equal NASCAR would have to mandate certain restrictions to each manufacturer. But you can't just give each the same restriction. It's like taking a dollar and giving Chevrolet 50 cents, Dodge 20 cents, and Ford 30 cents. That would fix it."

JACK SPRAGUE, #24 NETZERO/HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET SILVERADO, teammate to Ricky Hendrick, qualified sixth, 49.286/182.608.

SPRAGUE: "We ran that time/speed one time yesterday in practice and then we slowed down some. We put a new engine in our NetZero Chevy today and it was just as good as the one we had in yesterday. I thought we¹d run between a 49.30 and a 49.50. If we were really lucky, I thought we might be able to run a 49-flat. To run a 49.28 was a good lap for us. We spent a lot of money on this race, so anything short of the pole is disappointing. Still, the guys on this Hendrick Motorsports team have done a great job all week and I think we¹ll be tough to beat in the race Friday. The NetZero Chevy drove good all the way around the track on my qualifying lap. We nearly crashed late in the final practice session yesterday. The 43 truck (Carlos Contreras) lost an engine in Turn 1 and I got 90 degrees sideways in the oil. I almost thought I was going to go over, but it took a set and headed down the track. It tore up the front valance and the back bumper when it hit the flat. I was so close to crashing that I could feel the pain. Fortunately, that didn¹t happen and we were able to fix the damage and make the right adjustments to get a good qualifying lap today." IS IT IMPORTANT TO START UP FRONT HERE?: "I¹m not sure that it¹s that important to start up front here. Last year, the two Roush trucks started in the back and they were able to race to the front. It¹s nice to start in the front because you are in front of what you might call some hairy dudes. I¹m thinking as long as Ricky (Hendrick) is up front with us, we¹ll be OK. The plan is to hang together all day long and be there to race for the win at the finish."

DENNIS SETZER, #46 ACXIOM CHEVROLET SILVERADO, qualified 13th, 49.730/180.977.

SETZER: "I'm happy with the lap the #46 Acziom/Computer Associates Chevy Silverado turned. This is our first effort as a team in qualifying and to end up 13th is an exciting deal. Qualifying here is not as important as it is at some of the other tracks we race on, so I am happy with the way things ended up. Daytona is one of those places where you can go from the front to the back within a couple of laps."

Note: Of the top 25 qualifiers today, 13 were Chevrolet Silverados. Three were driven by rookies: TRAVIS KVAPIL, in the #60 CAT RENTAL STORES SILVERADO, was ninth (49.536/181.686); and DAVID DONOHUE, #16 TEAM RENSI MOTORSPORTS SILVERADO, was 17th (50.072/179.741) behind Hendrick.

Text Provided By Judy Stropus

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