Denver: GM Racing update 2007-07-11

Tom Hammonds will Forego NHRA Western Swing Chevy Cobalt Pro Stock Driver Targets an August Return to the Racetrack HOLT, Fla., July 11, 2007 - With additional time needed to regroup and get things up and running at his new team shop in the ...

Tom Hammonds will Forego NHRA Western Swing
Chevy Cobalt Pro Stock Driver Targets an August Return to the Racetrack

HOLT, Fla., July 11, 2007 - With additional time needed to regroup and get things up and running at his new team shop in the Florida panhandle, NHRA Pro Stock driver Tom Hammonds has decided to forego racing at the next three events beginning with this weekend's Mile High Nationals in Denver.

"This is the best direction for our team," said Hammonds. "Obviously it would be nice to continue to keep running the season and running the races, but we have bigger fish to fry, so to speak. We have a brand-new race shop we have to get finished, and we could continue to keep running up and down the track, and across the countryside on the NHRA POWERade circuit, but you know, at the end of the West Coast swing we'd be in the same position. We wouldn't have our shop totally functional and we wouldn't have our dyno totally functional.

"I sat down with Jimmy Oliver, Harry Turner and Jerry Eckman, and we came up with what we feel is the best plan, and that is taking one step back so that we can take two or three steps forward. That's what we're doing now. We also consulted with Fred Simmonds at GM Racing and he agreed that this was the best thing for us to do. We've come back to Holt, Fla., with the goal of getting our shop and dyno totally functional so that we will have a chance to compete at a high level."

Hammonds' plan now is to return to competition at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., on Aug. 9 - 12, and although he won't be racing at Seattle or Sonoma, Hammonds plans to attends one, or maybe both races because of some partnership opportunities he is pursuing.

"Minnesota has always been a lot of fun for me," said Hammonds. "I spent a lot of time there with the Timberwolves and that's where we are targeting our return to the racetrack.

"This was something that I had thought of even before the Bristol race came about, and I felt it made more sense to regroup and get our shop functional before we went back out. We're at a disadvantage not knowing which engine is our best engine, and I think we might have had an engine problem at Bristol, but without a working dyno and not knowing what we were going to put back in our Chevrolet Cobalt, there was a level of doubt. It made more sense for us to get our dyno running, give Jimmy more time to spend on our engines and a chance to have a home for our race team."

Last September at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Hammonds announced his return to NHRA Pro Stock Drag Racing. He entered the ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., in March and qualified his Chevy Cobalt 15th in the field, rolling to a career-best e.t. and speed of 6.631 seconds at 209.17 mph. Since then, Hammonds has qualified at seven of the 10 races he's entered with a season-best No. 5 qualifying effort at Norwalk (Ohio).

"When a team steps back, people perceive that they are quitting," said Hammonds. "We are not doing that. We have a lot of things going on and just keeping the shop up and running is so time consuming. We had our equipment delivered last week and we're as excited as a kid on Christmas Day. Looking at the new equipment and a lot of the things we have to put together, we knew that this was going to be a learning year for us. Our goal was to have a chance to win some races, which I think is still attainable, and to put together a top-notch program able to contend for that final eight in 2008.

"I believe that when we do come back we'll be better than before. Having our dyno up and running so that we can see and make adjustments, and do a little bit of research and development, that will make us better. When we qualified No. 5 at Norwalk that showed that it was there, but we have to fine-tune it a little bit and keep working hard. I love to compete and getting out there against the best racers in the world is something I love to do, but I think this is the right time to do what we need to do as far as getting our shop completely functional. That way we can continue to be successful."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tom Hammonds