Talladega II: Hornaday driving for Hamilton

Schneider Electric Racing preview. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 2, 2002) -- Things are pretty busy this week for the Schneider Electric Racing team. The crew members at Andy Petree Racing are switching seats around in the No. 55 Chevrolet trying to ...

Schneider Electric Racing preview.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 2, 2002) -- Things are pretty busy this week for the Schneider Electric Racing team. The crew members at Andy Petree Racing are switching seats around in the No. 55 Chevrolet trying to make this weekend's interim driver, Ron Hornaday, feel more comfortable in the car for the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Hornaday temporarily takes over for fill-in driver Greg Biffle, who needs to preserve his rookie status.

Meanwhile, other crew members are testing at Greenville Pickens, S.C., with driver Bobby Hamilton. Hamilton and the team felt it was best if he could test his new shoulder and wrist harness while gaining some lap time behind the wheel of the Schneider Electric Chevy. The Nashville, Tenn., native is scheduled to return to the Asheville-based team for the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. But just in case, current NASCAR Busch Series points leader Greg Biffle will be on hand in the unlikely event that Hamilton needs a relief driver.

Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief), why the switch this week from Biffle to Hornaday?

"Ron is a great choice for Talladega. His experience and expertise behind the wheel of a race car will help us there. He's had some good races there and tends to run pretty strong everywhere he goes. That place (Talladega) just takes someone who has been there and felt the strain it can put on drivers.

"But that doesn't mean that Greg was not qualified to do it. He has done a great job for us in the No. 55 Chevy. We had previously scheduled Greg to run for us in Charlotte, and now that Bobby is better he will race there instead. But just in case, we need a plan B. If Bobby starts to feel like he needs someone to fill in, then we'll put Greg in the car. If Greg is in the car for Charlotte, it will be his sixth Winston Cup Series race this season. And his seventh will be the race he is already scheduled to run in Atlanta through Roush. That way we are not pushing the limits on his rookie status for next year."

Bobby, how does it feel to be back behind the wheel of a race car after a few weeks off?

"I am glad to be back in it. I didn't want to be out of it at all, but things happen. I swear you feel so helpless watching people race your race car. I am impressed with how easily I can physically climb in and out of the car. Testing as much as we can is really important before I race again. I don't want to come back to Charlotte and get in the race car for the first time cold turkey. I want to have enough laps under me to get back in the groove.

"I tested my truck at Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. I took it out there on old tires and in the first few laps I was on the track, I made a lap that would have qualified seventh for the truck race. My shoulder and wrist are very mobile. And the harness that they gave me will help protect them in case I get in an accident on the race track. They don't help hold the shoulder or wrist in place, they just protect it in case I take another hit. The doctors were impressed with how fast it healed and ahead of schedule. Everyone has been so patient with this situation. Schneider Electric, Andy (Petree) and Jimmy are all behind me to race in Charlotte. So we are going to work on everything we can to make a strong comeback."

-ser-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Andy Petree