IRL: Hamilton busy at Phoenix

Davey Hamilton, who owns four victories in "Copper World" competition so far, will try for four more March 15-18 as he competes in all four phases of this year's Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway. ...

Davey Hamilton, who owns four victories in "Copper World" competition so far, will try for four more March 15-18 as he competes in all four phases of this year's Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway.

Hamilton, of Las Vegas, Nev., will pilot the Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Oldsmobile in the Indy Racing Northern Lights Series opener. He is the only driver who has competed in every IRL race since its inception in 1996. In addition, he will drive the Consani Racing Shaver/Beast in the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Series opener, the John Lawson Gaerte/Drinan in the USAC WorldCom National/Western Midget Car Series and the Mike Hopkins Losorwith/Shefchik supermodified in the Supermodified Racing League event.

Davey's previous four "Copper World" wins were all in the supermodifieds, in 1989, 1991, 1993 and 1995. He missed last year's "Copper World," nursing a broken back suffered in an accident at Walt Disney World Speedway in January.

"I've typically run multiple divisions at the Copper World," admits Hamilton, who says this year's events will be a bit less stressful. "In the past the races were one right after the other. This year, with the Midgets and Supermodifieds on Saturday, it should be a bit easier. Physically and mentally, I'm prepared. Mentally, I'm a race car driver and always ready to race. Physically, I'll have my nutritionist/strength coach, Jim Weathers, with me for massage and to watch my diet."

Hamilton is one of at least 15 drivers expected to do "double duty" in the USAC portions of the Copper World, but the only driver attempting to compete in all four. Other drivers expected to compete in both the Silver Bullet and Midget Car events are Wayne Chinn, Jerry Coons, Jr., Dave Darland, Jay Drake, Aaron & A.J. Fike, Tracy Hines, Kasey Kahne, Wally Pankratz, Jimmy McCune, Tony Ave, Dane Carter, Michael Lewis and Dave Steele.

"Fortunately, I've got a lot of experience in all those cars," adds Hamilton. "I'll just take one car at a time. I've actually talked some to Tony Stewart, who has raced multiple divisions on occasion. You sit in different cars, you buckle in a little different in each car, but as soon as you make a half-lap you are comfortable and feel right at home. My experience will take care of it."

Davey looks forward to Phoenix but sees extended USAC competition beyond the Copper World. "I've got the same rides available to me all year and look forward to racing a lot with the Silver Bullet and Midget Car Series, although my first and foremost focus is on Sam Schmidt Motorsports, without a doubt."

Practice at Phoenix begins on Thursday, March 15, with Midget and Supermodified qualifying on Friday and features on Saturday. The Indy Racing Northern Light Series and Coors Light Silver Bullet Series qualify on Saturday and race on Sunday. The Midget Car and Supermodified features are 25 laps each, while the Silver Bullet race is a 100-miler and the IRL finale is 200 miles.

Davey's chances at Phoenix? "I think I've got a realistic chance to win all four races," he says.

--USAC--

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Series IndyCar , Stock car , USAC
Drivers Tony Stewart , Davey Hamilton , Tony Ave , Sam Schmidt , Kasey Kahne , Michael Lewis , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Jay Drake , Dane Carter , Jimmy McCune , A.J. Fike , Jerry Coons