Square D Racing Daytona Recap Hamilton Victim of Crash on Front Straightaway DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (July 7, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton was a victim of circumstance as he was moving up through the pack when a multi-car pile up plagued the No. 55 ...
Square D Racing Daytona Recap
Hamilton Victim of Crash on Front Straightaway
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (July 7, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton was a victim of circumstance as he was moving up through the pack when a multi-car pile up plagued the No. 55 Square D Chevrolet on the front straightaway in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The team worked overtime to get Hamilton back out on the track where he finished in 38th position. The incident caused Hamilton to fall one spot in the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings to 15th position.
The first fifty laps in the Pepsi 400 were clean, door to door night racing excitement.
On lap 53 the Square D Racing Team took their first green flag pit stop. Crew chief Jimmy Elledge made only a minor track bar adjustment as the team added four tires and fuel.
Andy Houston blew a right front tire hitting the wall on lap 86 bringing out the first caution. The Square D Pit Crew made a 15-second pit stop helping Hamilton pick up eight spots in the race.
With only 47 laps to go, Hamilton began to work his magic on superspeedways by jumping in the middle groove, a maneuver similar to the one he used to capture the Talladega title in April. He was in 13th position when trouble on the front straightaway put him in the midst of a multi-car wreck.
Hamilton drove his car directly across the grass so the team could assess the Chevy. The radiator was hit and there was tremendous damage to the right front. The team placed the car behind the wall hoping to salvage a couple of spots by fixing the radiator.
Cutting the entire front fender off, crew members worked feverishly to weld a new radiator onto the No. 55 Chevy. Others pulled out fenders in the right rear and put four fresh Goodyear Eagles on the car. After the team had fixed most of the damage, Hamilton backed the car straight into the garage to check the tow before going back out to finish the race.
On lap 150, Jeff Gordon's engine blew, helping the team buy a little more time. With only three laps left, Hamilton drove the Chevy back out onto pit road to finish the race, only 15 laps down.
"The Square D Chevy was great tonight," Hamilton said. "I hung out in the back to stay out of the trouble, but we just got caught up in the middle of another deal. It just usually happens this way at Daytona. One lap, we're moving to the front and then the next we're caught up in a mess. These guys did a great job with pit stops and giving me a good car. I hate that it happened, but we just have to look forward to next weekend."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. spun his car around on the grass as the fans cheered after a remarkable and emotional victory. Ironically, Michael Waltrip pushed him across the finish line, returning the favor from the Daytona 500 in February. Elliot Sadler, Ward Burton and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top five.