Miller, Hamilton impress in first tests
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 17, 1998) New NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team owner Bobby Hamilton and Dana Dodge driver Butch Miller both made strong impressions during their first test sessions together. Miller impressed Hamilton with his hard driving, and his knowledge of chassis set ups, and Hamilton impressed the Dodge engineers in attendance with his overall knowledge of what it takes to build a race vehicle that will be competitive in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Working with Dodge engineers to fine tune the aerodynamic package for the Dodge Rams that will be campaigned in the 1999 season, Miller and Hamilton took turns driving trucks with this year's body configuration, as well as one with the proposed changes. While NASCAR has yet to give its final approval of the requested changes, officials on hand for the test indicated that some, if not all of the changes would be granted. Hamilton has known Miller for a number of years, and has raced against him in several different series, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. During the test session, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hamilton was impressed with Miller's performance and knowledge. "Butch showed me that he's still at the top of his game," Hamilton said. "We told him to go out and just warm up one of the trucks we brought for the test, and after just three laps, he was running as quick as anyone had all day. I was also impressed with his knowledge of the truck. He came into the pits after his first run and said that something didn't feel quite right in the middle of the corner. It just wasn't handling as well as it could. I jumped in the truck, ran a few laps, and sure enough, I felt the same thing. Having a driver with Butch's experience is a real plus for our team. All Butch needs to win in this series is a truck he's got confidence in, one where he knows how it will react when he dives off into the corner. I'm confident that working together, we're going to be able to give Butch what he needs, and he's going to win some races for Dana in '99." At the same time, Hamilton impressed the engineers from Dodge that were attending the test. "It was really neat to watch," said Dana Motorsports Manager, Armedee Nadeau. "It was like the old EF Hutton commercials on television. When Bobby talked, all the Dodge engineers stopped whatever they were doing to listen. This is the first time they've had someone with Bobby's experience, who is also a current Winston Cup driver, to help them with their program, and they're soaking up his ideas like a sponge. Bobby has a tremendous knowledge of what it takes to make a race vehicle into a winner, and so far, the engineers at Dodge have really liked his ideas. Dodge is our partner in our Craftsman Truck Series effort, and if Bobby, Butch and the Dodge engineers continue working together the way I've seen them doing today, there's no question in my mind that they'll come up with a winning package." Miller echoed Nadeau's comments. "This is the first time since I've been a Dodge team driver that I've seen this kind of cooperation and exchange of information," Miller said. "The engineers at Dodge have some good ideas of things we need to try to make the Dodge more competitive, and so does Bobby. What has been neat is that they're continually talking to each other, and using each other's ideas. This is the way it's supposed to be, and the end result is going to be the Dodge becoming a better race truck. I'm so excited about next season, I can't see straight. I've already had more input into our Dana team in the six weeks I've been working with Bobby than I did all year last season. Bobby and I really communicate well, and feel the same things in the trucks. It's great to have a team owner that can go get in the truck, run a few laps, and feel the same things I'm feeling. It allows us to work together to improve the truck and I know it's going to help us to win some races."
Source: NASCAR Online