DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 9, 2001) - Starting his first season in the Square D Chevrolet, Bobby Hamilton is looking forward to a year of many firsts for the Andy Petree Racing team. The ice has been broken, the predictions are high and the Square D Racing Team is gelling together smoothly.
"The tip of the iceberg has already been broken and we feel as though we have been together for many races," said Hamilton. "I think that happens when you have a combination of Jimmy Elledge as crew chief, Andy Petree as owner and a tremendous sponsor like Square D. It just makes it easier to sort through the learning curve and start racing. We feel confident after testing over the winter that we will put the Square D Chevrolet into victory lane."
Hamilton is expecting high hopes for the team this year. The confidence level that this will change in 2001 is evident in the whole team. Hamilton hopes that the Daytona 500 will set the stage on the 2.5-mile oval for a prosperous season ahead. The proven winner has set his sights on a strong first half of the season.
"The first half is going to be better than any first half I have ever had," predicts Hamilton. "The second half has always been better anywhere I was at before. So, if we can nail the first half down, it will be a real successful year for our team."
"This year I have a teammate and I am looking forward to working with Joe (Nemechek)," says Hamilton. "It is going to be different for me to have someone to converse with that has virtually the same car as I do. Having Andy Petree as a car owner with his extensive background as a crew chief is a big help as well. Of course, then I couldn't ask for a better crew chief than Jimmy Elledge couldn't. The team has put in double time over the winter to help me feel comfortable in the car. What more could a driver ask for?"
Hamilton spent the winter months moving his truck shop to another location, changed sponsors and helped advise his own son for his NASCAR Busch Series sponsorship in the 2001 season. Among these time consuming ventures, Hamilton also spent numerous hours testing at various tracks. Going into this new season with a positive mind is a priority of the Winston Cup veteran.
"Square D is a secure sponsorship and that means the world to me. It is hard enough to race all these weekends, but having to worry about sponsor trouble is another headache nobody wants to have. These sponsors are the lifeline of the NASCAR community," said Hamilton. "We are fortunate that Square D utilizes their sponsorship dollars. The support they give the team and I is tremendous."
Last year, when Hamilton interviewed with Andy Petree, he was given a chance to ask his own question about the team. Hamilton's only question also happens to be a personal goal for the 2001 season.
Hamilton asked, "You guys have built everything here in house, you're part of the RAD (Richard Childress, Andy Petree, Dale Earnhardt) program and there's no telling how many wind tunnel dates you had, so why haven't you not won a race?"
The answer for the Square D Racing Team looks promising in 2001.
Bobby Hamilton's Daytona Performance Profile --------------------------------------------
Year Event Start Finish Status/Laps
2000 Daytona 500 37 43 Engine/68
1999 Daytona 500 16 29 Accident
1998 Daytona 500 22 12 Running
1997 Daytona 500 39 15 Running
1996 Daytona 500 38 20
1995 Daytona 500 26 18
1994 Daytona 500 23 12 Running
1992 Daytona 500 22 32
1991 Daytona 500 20 10 Running