CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Sept. 19, 2001) - The Square D Racing team and other NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams will return to the track this weekend with a program to help the American Red Cross in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America. Driver Bobby Hamilton's No. 55 Chevy will also sport an American flag on its hood for this weekend's MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 at Dover Downs (Del.) International Speedway.
"I am not a very sentimental person, but when it comes to this tragedy, it's different," said Hamilton. "Everyone pulls together in bad times, and that's what makes our country so strong. Our team decided that we could show our support to America by placing a flag on the hood of our car."
Car owners Andy Petree and Roger Penske have announced that their teams will donate $10 for every lap they complete on Dover's one-mile oval. Hamilton and his Andy Petree Racing (APR) teammate, Joe Nemechek, were quick to join Penske Racing's two drivers, Rusty Wallace and Jeremy Mayfield, in the program. The drivers and car owners are encouraging others in Winston Cup to contribute to the American Red Cross as well.
"These people (American Red Cross) have done a tremendous job keeping our nation together," Petree said. "I don't think there is any question on helping. I think the question is how can we be most beneficial to our society. That is when we decided to donate money for our laps, but to ask other teams to do the same. It's a great way for our racing family to show their love and support to other families around the country."
Hamilton agreed. "Everybody across the United States is doing everything they can to produce money for the victims, survivors and the rescuers. This helps the racing industry pull together and produce more funds for the cause."
The NASCAR Winston Cup series joined the other major sports in postponing last weekend's competitions to honor and mourn the thousands lost in the attacks on New York and Washington. The New Hampshire 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway has been rescheduled for Nov. 23rd.
"I think taking last weekend off was the only thing to do," Hamilton said. But I know we've got to keep going even though everyone is sad right now. I heard our President say that we can't shut down. There are a lot of devastated people out there that need time away and a good avenue for them might be going to Dover for the race. It could get their mind off things and give them a breather for a few hours. We hope that we can do our part by putting on a good show for them in this Square D Chevy.
"I like the racetrack and tend to run well there," Hamilton said of Dover, where he has six top-10 finishes, including a 2nd place in the September 1995 event. "The key to winning Dover is to stay disciplined. The concrete surface is fast. I have to work extra hard on my qualifying efforts which in turn will put myself in a position to pass and run up front there."
Petree further challenged his drivers by saying, "If you get a top-five finish in Dover, I'll pay another $10 per lap to the American Red Cross. It's just one more way to give more money to the cause."
The 400-lap MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 will air live on NBC Sunday, Sept. 23rd at 1 p.m. EST.