BUSCH: Nashville: Bobby Hamilton Jr - NASCAR spotlight

A little "home cooking" might be the remedy for Bobby Hamilton Jr. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2003) -- Homecomings are natural "feel-good" experiences, complete with seeing friends and family, being back in familiar surroundings and getting a...

A little "home cooking" might be the remedy for Bobby Hamilton Jr.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2003) -- Homecomings are natural "feel-good" experiences, complete with seeing friends and family, being back in familiar surroundings and getting a little home cooking in the process.

Bobby Hamilton Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford) is looking forward to Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway not only as an opportunity to race in his hometown, but in the hopes that some "home cooking" will help turn his season around.

Hamilton could use a boost to get back into the chase at the series' first stand-alone event of the year. Last year, the native of the Nashville area finished eighth in the points and entered 2003 as one of the favorites for the title. But three finishes of 34th or worse in the first seven races have relegated the second- generation NASCAR driver to 19th in the rankings. He was eighth after seven races last year.

"We have had two very disappointing weekends in a row where accidents have taken us out of the race just a handful of laps into it," Hamilton said. "It's unfortunate for this team and it has hurt us in the points, but I expect to get things turned around this weekend.

"Knowing the success we had here last year is a confidence boost for all of us," he said. "I have put a lot of miles on this track, probably more than any of the other guys, so I think that gives us a good advantage."

"We finished second and third here last year, so it's not hard to feel good about returning to a place where you have had so much success," said Fred Wanke, Hamilton's crew chief. "Bobby knows this race track and knows what he needs from the car to be successful here. It's our job to make sure he gets it."

Hamilton also finished fourth in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville last year. His average starting position is 3.6 in his three NASCAR Busch Series races at the track, and he has led laps in all three events.

As if chasing down point leader Todd Bodine (No. 92 Herzog-Jackson Chevrolet) and hard-chargers like Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Shane Hmiel (No. 48 Dark Dog Chevrolet) and Mike Bliss (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Pontiac) weren't enough, Hamilton could be running against as many as six fellow Tennessee natives entered in Saturday's event. But the pride of White House, Tenn., a mere 20 miles from Nashville, is undaunted.

"I want to win each and every weekend, but there is nothing like winning in front of your hometown fans, the people that you grew up racing in front of," Hamilton said. "There are a lot of guys entered in this race who call the Nashville Superspeedway their home track, so the fans will have several drivers to root for. I know I will have my fair share of friends in the stands and probably a few people I have made enemies of, but the important thing here is who wins and I say that White House, Tenn., will be the city claiming victory at the end of the day."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Shane Hmiel