Bobby Hamilton Jr. Heads To Daytona With New Team, New Sponsor And New Outlook On The 2002 NASCAR Busch Series Season Mooresville, NC (February 5, 2002) -- Bobby Hamilton Jr. will make his debut in the No. 25 Team Marines Racing Ford Taurus at...
Bobby Hamilton Jr. Heads To Daytona With New Team, New Sponsor And New Outlook On The 2002 NASCAR Busch Series Season
Mooresville, NC (February 5, 2002) -- Bobby Hamilton Jr. will make his debut in the No. 25 Team Marines Racing Ford Taurus at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2002 with one thing on his mind -- taking his new team and new sponsor to victory lane.
Hamilton Jr. enters the 2002 season with a team that has made a number of transitions since the end of the 2001 season. Besides the addition of Hamilton Jr. as driver, Team Rensi Motorsports hired Fred Wanke as crew chief, switched to Ford as its manufacturer and contracted to use Robert Yates engines.
Suddenly, it's a whole new ballgame for Team Rensi as it heads into Daytona, with a new set of expectations and goals.
"Daytona is a fresh start for both myself and this team," Hamilton Jr. said. "It always feels good to go into Daytona, knowing that the slate has been wiped clean. But this year, there's something more than just a feeling of excitement in beginning the new season. There's a feeling of certainty that this is going to be an incredibly successful season and that we have a chance achieving our ultimate goal -- winning the 2002 championship."
Hamilton Jr. and the No. 25 Team Marines crew, who tested in Daytona on January 24-25, ran the fastest lap of any other Ford, posting the 15th fastest time overall with an average speed of 182.448 mph.
"We may suffer a little in qualifying due to the disadvantage the Fords are experiencing at the superspeedways, but I feel sure that the problem will correct itself during the race with as much downforce as we have," Hamilton Jr. said. "The Fords are super comfortable in the draft, and that plays a key role in Daytona. I don't see any reason that we can't go out there and win this race. I want it not only for myself, but for this team and for the United States Marine Corps."
Wanke also has his sights set on a victory in Daytona.
"The two things you need in Daytona are a good car, which we have, and the ability to use the draft," Wanke said. "It's important to qualify up front so you avoid the accidents that can take out half of the field. Then, you have to concentrate on working the draft. Lucky for us, Bobby has a knack for that, for anticipating other driver's moves and capitalizing on them. Victory lane is where this Team Marines Ford Taurus belongs, and it's up to us to get her there. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
Hamilton Jr. can't wait to get the new season underway with his new team.
"We have set some pretty high expectations," Hamilton Jr. said. "We want to get out there, win as many races as possible and be a serious contender for the championship. Do I think our expectations are too high? No I don't. We've got all the tools in the toolbox to do just that. Just wait and see."