The Morgan-McClure Motorsports team can breathe a sigh of relief following the Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point and a five-race streak of non-top 20 finishes due to parts problems. After starting in 14th position, Bobby Hamilton...
The Morgan-McClure Motorsports team can breathe a sigh of relief following the Save Mart/Kragen 350 at Sears Point and a five-race streak of non-top 20 finishes due to parts problems. After starting in 14th position, Bobby Hamilton navigated the road course to finish in the same spot. The No.4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo will be on the opposite coast in Daytona Beach, Fla., for the annual July Fourth celebration at Daytona International Speedway. Morgan-McClure Motorsports has five wins at the historic 2.5 mile track and nine superspeedway wins overall. They took home Pepsi 400 victories in 1992 (Ernie Irvan) and 1996 (Sterling Marlin). In 1999, Hamilton posted superspeedway career-best finishes at Daytona (eighth) and Talladega (ninth). "I remember in this race last year, we came in the pits toward the end and made a four-tire change. We came out pretty far back, about 19th I believe. I had a good handling race car and picked off the positions. We finished eighth. I was happy with that finish. It wasn't a win, but it was my best finish there. Morgan-McClure has definitely helped my superspeedway skills. Well, road course skills also," Hamilton said. "I'd be thankful for a top-five finish in the Pepsi 400 this year, the way our luck has been. A top-20 would make us feel good. Of course the team wants a win, but I guess we'll take what we can get. Completing the race last week with no problems meant a lot to the team. "We finished dead last in the Daytona 500. That seemed to set the stage for our season to this point. I'd like to go back to all of these tracks, especially Daytona, and get justice for all of the problems that have plagued this team. It's sort of a mental thing. I finished 43rd there in February, the sweetest revenge would be to go back and finish first. There's a fine wire there to keep balance on mentally, because it can screw up a driver if he begins to think like that too much. "It's like we are balanced on this line and on one side are alligators and on the other side is a bed of roses. We cannot let our destiny be controlled by trying too hard to make up for all of the situations we've found ourselves in this season. In racing, that can take you from the penthouse to the outhouse in a hurry. Not that we're in the penthouse right now, but the elevator is on the way back up. "I'm sure some teams out there would find themselves where we are in points right now and they would go for broke. I mean they would give up on points and start concentrating on race wins. This team is not giving up on moving up some in points. They are accustomed to being in the top-20, usually around 15th this time of the year. We want to win, but we also know we have to become more consistent on good finishes to make progress in points positions. "There are lots of rumors floating around out there. When a team gets down, they start flying. Look at the ones about Gordon or Earnhardt. They go a certain number of races without winning and they're washed up, no good drivers, according to the rumors. Or if a team has problems, people automatically start jumping ship. Larry McClure (car owner) has been loyal to me. I intend to be loyal to Larry. We both know our team has problems, but we're working real hard together to fix those problems. "I like racing under the lights. We had a decent finish last week. I'm ready to go walk that wire at Daytona, and maybe if we fall, it'll be on the sweet smelling side."
<pre> Hamilton/Morgan-McClure Motorsports Daytona Stats
2000 Daytona 500-Started 37th/Finished 43rd
1999 Daytona 500-Started 16th/Finished 29th Pepsi 400-Started 18th/Finished 8th (career-best at Daytona)
1998 Daytona 500-Started 22/Finished 12th Pepsi 400-Started 37th/Finished 11th