GALLES RACING BACK ON TRACK WITH HAMILTON, LOYAL CREW LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 22, 1999 -- Loyalty is a word Rick Galles lives by. He showed it in spades over the last six weeks. Early last December, Galles learned that Bob...
GALLES RACING BACK ON TRACK WITH HAMILTON, LOYAL CREW
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 22, 1999 -- Loyalty is a word Rick Galles lives by. He showed it in spades over the last six weeks. Early last December, Galles learned that Bob Nienhouse, who had purchased Galles' racing operation a year ago and then retained the crew for the 1998 season, was turning in another direction as a race car owner. Galles, an Albuquerque, N.M., car dealership owner, had served as team manager over his devoted crew for Nienhouse during the '98 season. So he put the crew members, all of whom had been with him at least seven years, to work in his business. He also signed driver Davey Hamilton, who finished second for the second straight year in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League standings in 1998, to a consulting contract. It also allowed Hamilton to take another ride if it became available. Then Galles decided earlier this month to enter the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 with his crew and Hamilton as driver. Galles Racing was back on track. "When you develop relationships, it's hard to give up on 'em," Galles said. "The key to racing is the crew and the driver, and we've got that. "I had no intention of owning a team again. Bob (Nienhouse) had every right to do what he did. It didn't affect me - I had a way to make a living -- just the guys and Davey. I could to do it (run a team on his own), but I had committed to not doing it anymore without a sponsor. But I felt it was important that we be here." Galles was working toward assembling a team but in no way was ready to go racing, he said. As soon as Galles made the decision on Jan. 12 to participate at Orlando, he dispatched his crew to Indianapolis to work with Sinden Racing Service team co-owner Jeff Sinden, once a Galles employee who still felt loyalty to his former boss. G Force sent in an updated car, and it was quickly assembled and hauled to Orlando in an old single-car trailer. "We've got a No. 2 team," Galles said. "The only thing we haven't done is test. We should be OK by race day." The 30 laps Hamilton put on the car in the first practice session Friday were its first. "I don't want to come down and have a bad showing," Hamilton said, "but we also want to show sponsors that we are determined." Hamilton said it was incredible the things that have happened to him at the end of past two seasons. After finishing a close second to Tony Stewart in 1997, he was released by the A.J. Foyt team and was signed on by Nienhouse after spurning other offers. Then he placed second again and once more lost his ride. "All I can say is, don't finish second," he said with a wry laugh. "I'm keeping my head high." Galles is working diligently toward acquiring sponsorship for the remainder of the year. He's optimistic. "I really think we'll get some funding," he said.