BUSCH: Phoenix II: Hamilton Jr - Ford Friday interview

Bobby Hamilton Jr., driver of the No. 35 McDonald's Ford Fusion talks about racing at Phoenix International Raceway. In 2003, he won at the mile-long track. He is sixth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and has two top-10 finishes this ...

Bobby Hamilton Jr., driver of the No. 35 McDonald's Ford Fusion talks about racing at Phoenix International Raceway. In 2003, he won at the mile-long track. He is sixth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings and has two top-10 finishes this season.

TALK ABOUT RACING AT PHOENIX. "This is a fast short track with flat turns. It reminds me of Gateway [Missouri] in turns one and two and Milwaukee in turns three and four and it has a dogleg on the back straightaway. If you get the turns where you need them, then you'll have a fast race car.

THIS IS THE SAME CAR YOU RAN AT GATEWAY. IS THERE A DATA TRANSFER FROM THE TWO TRACKS? "We came along some different information and we'll apply what we've learned to the race this weekend. This is a completely different set-up than what we had at the spring race. We're struggled during the spring race, so we've brought a different car and different set-up to have a better run this weekend. We've run really well the past few weeks, so we trying to update our equipment."

DOES THE MOMENTUM FROM TEXAS HELP THIS WEEKEND? "Yes, but no matter how many times you've done it, you can always learn new stuff. Every time you run good, you learn from that. Every time you run bad, there's something you can learn from that as well. In these cars, you need to manhandle them a lot. You've got to be constantly turning right as much as you do left. It refreshes you and every time you run good, you remember that and you think that if it handled at 200 miles an hour that way, you know you can handle it here. You're constantly learning something as far as a driver and the momentum with the crew and everything. That's what you're trying to build for the rest of the season and next year. These next two races are very important."

CHRIS WRIGHT [CREW CHIEF] MENTIONED THAT YOU'VE FINISHED AT LEAST SEVEN POSITIONS BETTER AT THESE TRACKS THE SECOND TIME AROUND THIS SEASON. WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE? "We've got notes to go off of now. When we first started this season, we had notes to use from the previous driver and we like the car set completely different. I guarantee you, we'll be a whole lot better out here this time compared to last time because last time we did some things that didn't work and we've been working to improve the end result. Once you build-up that notebook, it's pretty easy."

WHAT'S THE KEY TO WINNING HERE? "I think if you have really good equipment, have really good runs and if the team is really on, we'll be able to run near the top. If you struggle, for instance, I've won here before and I left the track really liking it, then I've left here and really disliked the track. You've got to block it all out, good or bad. It's a race track. We've been here enough to know what we need to do to run fast. If you can keep the car on the bottom and if you can use up the gas off the corner, through the middle and off the corner is they key. If you can get in here high, if you want, but center out is where you're going to win the race. Track position helps, but if you have a really good race car, you can pass here. If you give me a good race car that can run fast in the middle and hooked up decent for me in the middle, I'll give you a run for your money."

THE TRACK DOESN'T SEEM WIDE ALONG THE STRAIGHTAWAYS. It's not; you don't have a whole lot of room for error. In the corners, the track is wide, but on the straightaways the track is narrow. If you get behind somebody, you're kind of stuck. But you learn to adapt out there and you pick the places where you want to pass and for from there."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton Jr.