Bobby Hamilton Racing 2006 Team Lineup Bobby Hamilton - Driver of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge As he starts his fourth full season as a fulltime NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor in the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge one could define...
Bobby Hamilton Racing 2006 Team Lineup
Bobby Hamilton - Driver of the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge
As he starts his fourth full season as a fulltime NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor in the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge one could define Bobby Hamilton in a couple of different ways.
As a NCTS driver Hamilton is a proven commodity with 10 wins, 33 top-fives and 54 top-tens in only 99 starts. His series championship serves as a high point in an incredibly successful Truck series run. Hamilton is one of only a select group of drivers who have captured wins in all three of NASCAR's elite touring series -- Cup, Busch and Truck. At the onset of the 2006 NCTS season Hamilton is one of only two full-time Craftsman Truck Series competitors who can make that claim. Hamilton has proven he can win at almost any kind of circuit, his four Nextel Cup wins have come on a flat track (Phoenix), an intermediate track (Rockingham), a short track (Martinsville) and the biggest track of all (Talladega). In his NCTS battle he has developed a knack for winning on the ever present 1.5 mile oval (Atlanta, Homestead, Kentucky), the granddaddy of the all (Darlington-twice) and on the smallest of the all (Mansfield).
As a NCTS owner Hamilton has had equal success. Fielding trucks for a wide variety of drivers Bobby Hamilton Racing has developed a reputation for providing competitive rides week in and week out and for developing young talent. In addition to the 10 wins by Hamilton, BHR has posted multiple wins with Joe Ruttman, Robert Pressley and Chad Chaffin. At the series marquee race at Daytona, BHR has posted three wins in the last six seasons (Ruttman-2001, Pressley-2002 and Hamilton-2005). With 19 total wins and one championship, BHR has established itself as one of the premier teams in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history. Recent history is even more promising. Over the past two seasons BHR has compiled more NCTS wins than any other organization with eight victories.
The secret to Hamilton's success as a driver and an owner is no secret at all. It is one of the most time-honored yet overlooked traits in any business -- attention to detail.
"I am the type of owner that is surrounded with a good support group, but there isn't anything that goes on in the shop that I don't have my hands in," Hamilton said. "My deal is structured very, very simple. I walk in there on Mondays and hang around in the shop getting pulled in several different directions and answer questions. I help design the chassis and love that part of it. On Tuesdays I sign the bills and talk about what we've got to do for testing and the next event with travel. On Wednesdays they leave me alone -- they do their job and I overlook it. And on Thursdays we're going to the racetrack. That's the way it is at my shop. Basically all I did was take the middle people out so nobody could say, 'Well, so-and-so told me this, or they didn't tell me this. They have to come to me about everything. I've got 50 people. It isn't that hard to juggle 50 people a week if you have crew chiefs that handle their people well. I trust my instincts and that is what makes us a championship caliber team."
Hamilton is proud of his team's efforts and proud of the series he competes in. For his dollar there is no other series as competitive as the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series from both a team and a driver standpoint.
"It's a great series and you would be surprised if you knew all the people that get called to the NASCAR trailer after every race," Hamilton says. "It isnever made been made public but it's something every week. I wish the media could see it more because they would have some great stories to write. Pay attention and just sit at the NASCAR trailer andlook how busy it gets. But it's not only the drivers that make the series tough, I think it's the teams too. There's going to be a battle going on every week that you run and it might not be for first position only," said the Nashville-based driver who was the Nextel Cup Rookie of the Yearin 1991, "but you look back to about seventh or eighth place and there's blood in their eyes and it happens every week.But nobody focuses on that."
Maybe it is because of that heated competition that forces Hamilton to operate with a take no prisoners attitude. Gentle off the track when dealing with fans and sponsors but totally focused when the green flag falls Hamilton knows this is a give and take business but one can only give so much.
"I go for the win every time," Hamilton said. "I'm not the type of driver that pushes anyone around, but I'm also not the type who will take anything either. I'm still hungry for another championship. When we won the championship in 2004 I raced when I wanted to and rode when I wanted to. I made the right decisions and we were there at the end. I know how to lose championships, I did that in 2003. But I know how to win one as well, even though other competitors like Sprague and Hornaday have more experience with that."
As he prepares himself for another season of NASCAR competition Hamilton knows he will face challenges both on the track and off, as a driver and as an owner, teaching two young guns - Timothy Peters and Scott Lagasse Jr. the rules of the road. Lagasee Jr. will run for the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the year and Peters embarks on his sophomore season after running 16 races last year.
"Both of these kids are talented, Hamilton says "Scott comes highly recommended and his dad was a great driver who drove a full year in the truck series when the series first started. Timothy had some great runs last year and we think he will be a lot more competitive this year. I've always said when you surround yourself with good people such as your team and good product such as Fastenal and Dodge, it usually works well. This is such a people business and my deal is no different. You can have the best motors in the world, the best downforce and if you don't have good people it just doesn't workfor some reason. The minute the people start coming alive, it makes it a lot easier."
Timothy Peters - Driver of the No. 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge
Like a kid approaching Christmas NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitor Timothy Peters knows what he wants and he wants it in the worst way.
"I want that first win," Peters says. "We had a couple of good chances to win one these NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races last year and things didn't turn out in our favor. Hopefully this year we will be able to seal the deal and capture that first win, that is what we work for each day, that is our goal."
Peters embarks on his sophomore season in the truck series. Last year with only 16 starts he posted two top ten finishes, including a sixth place finish at Dover in only his fourth NCTS start. He finished second to Todd Kluever in the NCTS Raybestos Rookie of the Year chase. This year he takes over the wheel of the No. 4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge Ram for Bobby Hamilton Racing with renewed enthusiasm and a new crew chief, Kip McCord.
"Kip has been part of several drivers first NASCAR win so I am counting on his good luck translating into a first win for this Dodge Motorsports Dodge team," Peters said. Kip is a proven winner and I am really looking forward to working with him this year. His experience and work ethic will help me continue to learn and improve. To say that I am optimistic is an understatement."
Peters has combined hard work and determination at a young age to accomplish an impressive list of achievements. He is a ten-time World Karting Association National Title winner, three-time late model driver points champion, winner of over twenty seven late model races and twenty eight Legend Car races. Sounds like a long list of accomplishments for someone who is only 24, but Peters started early on his stellar career.
He received his first go-kart when he was only seven years old and has been racing ever since. Then with a little influence from his father, he began racing in the World Karting Association. During those early years, he left a lasting impact by racking up 10 WKA National Titles.
"My dad is the reason I am racing at this level," said Peters. "We did everything together when I was little and he always set up my go-karts and legend cars. My favorite past time was working on legend cars with him. Together we achieved this dream."
Since he was so successful early on Peters was ready to take the next step in the racing world. In 1995 he moved up the ladder to legend cars. After competing in several divisions over the next three years, he ran 72 races and won over one-third of the he races entered.
With his outstanding successes in his first two series, he was confident it would continue as he moved up to Late Model Stock Car Racing. He was right. Peters paid his dues before finally getting a big break in 2001. He signed up to race for Fallen Racing, winning six races that season before finishing second in the South Boston Speedway Championship. In 2002 Peters won nine races and went on to tackle the Orange County Speedway Track Championship. The next season, he backed that up by winning an impressive 11 races and garnered the championship once again.
"Running those two seasons was a great learning experience for me," said Peters. "I learned a lot about a stock car and the art of driving consistently. It was great to defend my track championship and winning several races gave me the confidence to move to the next level."
In 2004 Peters continued his winning ways by earning his way into victory lane seven times and finally won the South Boston Speedway Championship. Even better, he also took home his primary sponsor's race by winning the 2004 Bailey's 300 Late Model Invitational at South Boston Speedway. Those accomplishments earned Peters a ride with Bobby Hamilton Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for 2005.
"Bobby Hamilton is everything I thought he was and more," said Peters. "I have never been more impressed with an organization than I am with BHR. I know now why they are champions. Bobby is a great teacher. I really learned a lot over the last few races of 2005. We went to Martinsville and got a top ten finish and then we went to Atlanta and got an education on the draft and how these trucks move around in the air. If I can apply what I learned last year and we can unload this Dodge Motorsports Dodge in good form then I am confident we can be very competitive this year."
Scott Lagasse, Jr. - Driver of the No. 04 Dodge Motorsports Dodge
Merely, three years ago Scott Lagasse, Jr. was testing his ASA Series car at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tennessee gearing up for one of his many ASA Series races. Ironically NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bobby Hamilton and his son NASCAR Veteran Bobby Hamilton Jr. were there for a sponsor commitment. It was a chance encounter Lagasse would never forget.
"I remember I was having trouble with the bump in turn four," Lagasse said. "Bobby is the king of that place so I decided to walk over and ask for advice. I was a little bit intimidated because of who he was and Bobby Jr. was a star in the Busch series. I was worried about bothering them, but Bobby was the nicest guy. He immediately put me at ease and gave me some great pointers."
Fast forward to the year 2006 and Lagasse has been given the opportunity of a lifetime to drive none other than Bobby Hamilton's third NCTS entry. It is a dream come true for Lagasse and one Hamilton wants to see succeed.
"I really enjoy developing drivers for Dodge and for NASCAR," Hamilton said. "It is fun for me to put time and energy into someone else and see them perform. The average age for drivers these days is just getting younger which puts them in a position to mature faster. I like to think my time in the sport can help them have a head start on what is on the horizon."
Though Lagasse will be a rookie entering the 2006 season he is no stranger to racing and victory lane. The son of early 1990's stand out Scott Lagasse Sr. was raised around the race track for as long as the young lad can remember. He was just young boy when he received his first three-wheeler, which he rode around at the track where his father was racing. This led Lagasse Jr. to his next endeavor motocross racing and then on to karting.
The St. Augustine, Florida native burst onto the racing scene in 1998 when he won the first ever race he entered by sitting on the pole and leading the most laps in a modified car. Over the next three years he competed in 43 late model events pulling into victory lane 24 times and finishing in the top three 23 times, a very impressive statistic.
In 2003, he made the step up to the ASA racing series and immediately turned heads. He competed in six races and finished in the top five twice and top 10 four times. He continued in 2004 and proved to be a contender winning at Kentucky Speedway which caught the eye of Chip Ganassi. Lagasse's contract with Ganassi landed him at the door of fellow Dodge competitor Bobby Hamilton who formed an alliance with Ganassi taking Lagasse as his rookie driver for the No. 04 Dodge Motorsports Dodge.Lagasse has proven himself a winner on many racing circuits, but now is presented with the challenge of one of NASCAR's elite series -- a task he is ready to conquer.
"This season is all about challenges," Lagasse said. "I have never even been in a truck before this year. I am working with a new team, new crew chiefs, new pit crew and competing on several new tracks around the country. But challenges make you stronger and I am confident my team and I are up for daunting task ahead."