Hamilton Jr takes reins of #32 early

Hamilton Jr takes reins of #32 early

As the 2004 season starts to wind down, more changes are made prior to the final countdown in the Race for the Chase. Today, PPI Motorsports announced that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. will pilot the ...

As the 2004 season starts to wind down, more changes are made prior to the final countdown in the Race for the Chase. Today, PPI Motorsports announced that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. will pilot the #32 Tide Chevrolet at California Speedway's Labor Day weekend event. Hamilton, Jr., was named to drive the Chevy on July 28, 2004 for the 2005 season, replacing Ricky Craven.

"I am so excited to get this opportunity and step into the seat of such an established team," commented Hamiltotn, Jr. "I really feel like good things are going to come our way, and we can get the kinks worked out this season and start off next year with a real head of steam. This is a great, great opportunity for me."

Ricky Craven and PPI announced end of July that they would part ways at the end of the 2004 season. Craven will return as the driver for the team in the New Hampshire race to be held September 19th.

Bobby Hamilton Jr..
Photo by Thomas Chemris.
The current Team Rensi Motorsports' Busch series racer has proved his talent in both of the top two NASCAR series this season. He made his debut May 15th at Richmond in the #09 Phoenix Racing, he ran six races for Phoenix in 2004.

Hamilton, Jr. will run the remaining 11 races on this year's schedule as the team builds for 2005, this will allow the team and Hamilton, Jr., to weld prior to his first full season in a Cup car.

"We are very grateful Ricky Craven chose to allow us the opportunity to get a head start on the 2005 season and let us put Bobby Hamilton, Jr. behind the wheel of the No. 32 car," expressed team owner Cal Wells III. "This will give Bobby Jr. and the team a chance to work together for the remaining events to build a foundation for next season. We are also very excited to be taking Ricky back to New Hampshire this fall."

PPI's crew chief Mike Beam will remain with the team as he works with Hamilton, Jr. for the 11 races and with Craven at NHIR. Since PPI has hired Hamilton, Jr.'s crew chief for 2005, Harold Holly will help out during the transition. "Harold has already made considerable contributions to next year's program," said Wells. "Harold has been working on building cars for Bobby Jr. in preparation."

"We understand Harold has obligations to his current employer and do not want to distract him from his duties. However, Harold will be atop the pit box on race day to acclimate both himself and Bobby Jr. to the organization," added Wells.

Hamilton, Jr. will pull a double-duty this weekend in Fontana. The Busch and Cup practice and qualifying will be held Friday followed by the Busch race on Saturday and Sunday's inaugural "Finish Under the Lights" Cup race.

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Series NASCAR-CUP