Josh Hamner Wraps Up NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie Honors
Eighth-Place Finish Allows Youngster To Write His Name In The Record Books
CHELSEA, AL (September 25, 2006) -- Jason Hogan. Charlie Bradberry. Gary Helton. David Reutimann. JR Norris. Steven Christian. All are accomplished racers. All are some of the best to race the short tracks of the Southeast. Now, Josh Hamner can add his name to that list as a winner of the NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie of the Year title.
Hamner's eighth-place finish in the "Rock 101 150" at Greenville-Pickens Speedway clinched the NASCAR Southeast Series Rookie of the Year title for the 20-year-old. Even more special, Hamner will now be the last driver to ever be called the Southeast Series Rookie of the Year. NASCAR is discontinuing the Elite Divisions, including the Southeast Series, following the 2006 season.
That made the award even more special for Hamner, whose father, Jeff, has been a fixture with the series ever since its inception and even before the series was brought under the NASCAR sanction.
"I'm really honored to win this award," said Hamner. "It might not be what is used to be since the series is going away here after this year, but it's still a Rookie of the Year award and its still the series my entire family has grown up around.
"It makes it even more special since JR won the championship and I won the Rookie of the Year. That is pretty cool since we are both from the same area down here in Alabama. Maybe that will bring some attention to the south, which is what we need."
Hamner's car wasn't the best it had been all year, but the experience he gained on one of the toughest tracks in the Southeast was invaluable.
"The car was loose off big time. The last time here at Greenville, I was getting beat on experience. I gained a lot of experience on the rest of the guys and this track this time around. I consider that a win. The car just got too loose. I could get in good in the center. The car wanted to get off the corner all over the place. I'm thinking about going dirt track racing after tonight."
With the Southeast Series ending following the running of the NASCAR Toyota All Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in October, the Greenville race and the Rookie of the Year title was bittersweet for Hamner.
"(Southeast Series Director) Les (Westerfield) and (former Southeast Series Media Coordinator) Bill Desmond both made the comments today that they remember me when I was in diapers. That is the truth. I've been sneaking into racetracks with my dad every since I could remember. The day I got my first NASCAR license, I was so proud of it. I hate to see this series go because it's been a big part of my life, but sometimes, maybe its time for a change."
Now, Hamner will have one more race with his NASCAR Southeast Series ride. That will be the All Star Showdown in Irwindale.
"I'm looking forward to that race a lot and it being on SPEED. I know the local boys have an advantage out there since they run there during the year, but that's ok. It will be fun. You don't have to worry about points or anything out there. I'm looking forward to just going out there and having fun."
Hamner will next be in action this coming weekend when he returns to the seat of his ASA Late Model South Series at Shenandoah Speedway in Virginia on Saturday night.