As Father's Day approaches, Bobby Hamilton, Larry McClure and some of the Kodak MAX Film pit crew reflect on the influence their fathers had on their lives and what some of them pass along to their own children. Bobby Hamilton, driver of...
As Father's Day approaches, Bobby Hamilton, Larry McClure and some of the Kodak MAX Film pit crew reflect on the influence their fathers had on their lives and what some of them pass along to their own children.
Bobby Hamilton, driver of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo ABOUT HIS DAD..
"My father and grandfather were in racing. Their influence certainly got me involved. I grew up around it. When they built cars for the late Marty Robbins, I watched and learned. Back when the Grand National Division (now Winston Cup Series) would come into town to race at Nashville Speedway, my dad would be around all of the guys. He was really keen on Richard Petty. He thought he was a real smart guy. So when I started driving for the King, my dad was proud. He thought it was a big deal. "In 1996, my second season with Petty Enterprises, we had to bury my dad when we were on the way to Daytona. That year, I won my first Winston Cup race at Phoenix. I know it would have been important to him. I wish he could have seen it."
ON BEING BOBBY HAMILTON, JR.'S DAD... "Both of us being involved in racing has drawn us closer together. When kids get older, they tend to go in their own direction. They have their own lives and agendas. We've always been close knit, but now we spend about 80% of the weekends together. " When he races (in the BGN Series), I'm on the radio with him a lot. When we're at separate tracks, we are in constant communication with one another. We both have something to talk about with each other. It's like every week is a new journey for us and we can discuss it. We both are so into racing, we have a common interest, which gives us a stronger bond. "I believe families grow apart because they don't communicate. All of a sudden they have nothing to say to each other and they start drifting away from each other. If a family has common interests or hobbies or whatever, then they can have new stuff to discuss at the dinner table each time they sit down. "With Father's Day drawing near, I can't help but to think about Kyle (Petty) and what he must be feeling. When something like that happens, people say, 'I know how you feel', but the truth is no one can feel the same as the person with the pain of a lost loved one."
Larry McClure, owner of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo ABOUT HIS DAD... "I have so many fond memories of my Dad. Many of the thoughts evolve around fishing and baseball. "When he became ill and after he retired, he told us (the family) to take care of each other. Always look out for one another. That has stuck with me. I try to live by that advice. So far, I think I have succeeded at it and so has the rest of my family. We're a close family."
Robert Larkins, crew chief for the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo ON HIS DAD... "I was exposed to Saturday night racing at the age of five. My dad and I would watch cars from Jackie Rogers' race shop take practice runs down the newly paved road in front of our house. My dad noticed my interest in it and took me to the race shop and then to my first race. I guess I've been hooked since then. "Dad wanted me to get a degree from Cape Fear Tech, but before I could graduate, I went to work for Hoss Ellington. I have been building and setting up cars since. Dad wasn't real happy with my decision, but after a little go-round, I told him I'd give four or five years. That was in 1982."
ABOUT HIS TWO AND HALF YEAR OLD SON... "My son, Robert hasn't quite caught the racing bug yet. He knows I'm at the track every weekend. He is just happy playing peek-a-boo with me. We have neat little games we play with each other, but peek-a-boo is one of his favorites."
Lonnie Hill, Engine and gas overflow for the Kodak MAX Film Chevy ABOUT HIS FAMILY... "My Dad wasn't into racing much. He was a fisherman. I found my own way into the racing world. My children, Bradley, 29 and Brandi, 17 watch NASCAR racing. Even my six year old grandson, Brandon, enjoys the races on television. I don't have much time off, but when I do, I enjoy spending it with the family. We go out on the lake and relax."
Mark Nikels, mechanic and gas man for the Kodak MAX Film Chevy ON HIS DAD... "I definitely got into racing because of my Dad. Both of my parents drag raced Corvairs, even while my Mom was pregnant with me. My Dad is a huge support. He really is proud of my job. To be honest though he is a huge Dale Earnhardt fan. Being so die-hard that he hopes to see the No. 4 car finish second each weekend behind his man."
ABOUT HIS FOUR AND A HALF YEAR OLD DAUGHTER... "My daughter, Chanteyl, watches the races every Sunday. She looks for me on TV and she pulls for our team to win. I really miss her when I am away every weekend. I talk to her all of the time. When I'm home, my favorite thing is to go out in the yard and play with my little girl."
Happy Father's Day to all... and especially written in memory of my loving Daddy...