CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 2, 2001) - In the midst of its most competitive season in the Winston Cup points battle, the Square D Racing Team is still learning the tricks to enable driver Bobby Hamilton to return to victory lane for the second time this...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (May 2, 2001) - In the midst of its most competitive season in the Winston Cup points battle, the Square D Racing Team is still learning the tricks to enable driver Bobby Hamilton to return to victory lane for the second time this year. This weekend, in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, the team will race the same No. 55 Chevrolet that Hamilton drove to one of their five top-10 finishes earlier this year in Martinsville, Va.
The car, named "Stepchild," is a familiar favorite of Hamilton as he readies himself for Saturday night racing on the .750-mile Richmond oval.
"We are still in a learning curve right now," Hamilton said Tuesday on the weekly NASCAR Winston Cup Series Teleconference. "The cars that we are carrying to these races are what's in the stable at the Andy Petree Race shop. We're still trying to figure out which car to take where. Sometimes this has worked and other times it hasn't. I don't feel like we've got a bad car in the stable right now, but that it's going to take time figuring out which ones to carry to certain racetracks.
"This team has worked so hard to make the right setup for me. It has paid off with some great finishes," Hamilton said later while he visited the APR race shop in Flat Rock, N.C. "We'll know more by the next half of the season (as to) what we'll carry to which race." During the visit, Hamilton had a catered lunch brought in for both Petree teams as a tip of the hat to both crews in celebration of his victory at Talladega.
Hamilton's performances have gained him recognition on short tracks. It is no different at Richmond, where he has eight top-10 finishes in his past 12 RIR races. Hamilton is confident on the small circuits, and thus has focused his attention on the longer tracks in an effort to improve his all-around performance.
"I've been known as a short track racer, but that goes to show everyone that my win in Talladega, Ala. was somewhat a surprise. The team gave me a car that I could work well with there. It also proved my point on having the right fit to make a team the best. I've found a fit that is right for me and it's made all the difference in the world.
"Although we try our best everywhere, we've proven ourselves stronger on the short tracks. This car, Stepchild, has given me one of my best performances. Racing seems to consume most of my time -but it is also what I care about most. My attention is focused on making this season work for everyone -Square D, APR and myself. Every weekend we're trying harder to stay where we are in the points battle.
"It's created more stress on us, but it's all worth it once you travel to victory lane and get that taste in your mouth. It only makes you hungrier for more."
The 400-lap Pontiac Excitement 400 will air live on FX Saturday, May 5 at 8 p.m. EST.