Tom Hammonds Will Return to NHRA Pro Stock Racing in 2007 Former NBA Standout will Compete in Chevy Cobalt INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 2, 2006 After a three-year hiatus from the sport of drag racing, former NBA standout Tom Hammonds announced his plans...
Tom Hammonds Will Return to NHRA Pro Stock Racing in 2007
Former NBA Standout will Compete in Chevy Cobalt
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 2, 2006 After a three-year hiatus from the sport of drag racing, former NBA standout Tom Hammonds announced his plans today to return to NHRA Pro Stock in 2007 behind the wheel of a Rick Jones-built Chevy Cobalt. Hammonds last competed at an NHRA Pro Stock event at the Gatornationals in March, 2003 in Gainesville, Fla.
"I'm excited about this program because for the first time, I will be able to put a full 100-percent effort into racing NHRA Pro Stock," said Hammonds. "When I raced before, I was still playing in the NBA, and then when I retired from basketball, I was devoted to completing the GM Minority Dealership program. I couldn't give my full attention to racing, and given the limited amount of time we had on the track, I still think we were pretty successful. I'm a big believer in that you get out of something what you put into it. If you devote 100 percent of your time and effort into something, you're going to get good results regardless of what it is. I'm confident that we can be competitive and that we will be successful."
"Team Chevy is proud to support Tom Hammonds upon his return to NHRA Pro Stock racing in 2007," said Fred Simmonds, GM drag racing marketing manager. "Tom was a valued member of our team when he raced his Pro Stock Chevy Cavalier several years ago, and we're looking forward to renewing our relationship with one of the class acts among professional athletes."
A former NBA power forward and two-time all-ACC basketball standout at Georgia Tech, Hammonds entered his first NHRA Pro Stock race at Englishtown (N.J.) in 1997, and qualified for his first 16-car field later that September at Reading (Pa.). Hammonds announced his retirement from the NBA in Sept. 2001, and then three weeks later, advanced to his first career final round at the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas. His second career final round came the following week at the ACDelco Nationals in Las Vegas.
In 2002, Hammonds qualified a career-best second at both Gainesville (Fla.), and at Chicago (where he was runner-up to Bruce Allen). At the 2003 NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. Hammonds recorded a career-best speed of 202.52 mph. His best finish was in 2002 when he won 12 eliminator rounds and ended the season 14th in the points standings.
"Sitting on the outside looking in, the class has changed dramatically since I last raced in 2003," said Hammonds. "It was competitive when I raced, but now there are so many good teams with Greg Anderson, Warren Johnson, Allen Johnson, Jim Yates, the Cagnazzi program, they've all taken the sport to a higher level, and we'll have to be ready for that."
Following his sabbatical from the sport in 2003, the 39-year-old Hammonds completed final coursework in the GM Minority Dealer Development Program, and opened Tom Hammonds Chevrolet in Darlington, S.C. in May of 2004. He sold the dealership in December 2005 to focus full time on his Pro Stock drag racing career. In addition to Chevrolet, Hammonds will have support from Mac Tools and Industrial Depot.
"We're going to have our own in-house engine program and we're in the process of building a brand-new raceshop in my hometown of Crestview, Fla.," said Hammonds. "The good thing about that is that it's only 10 minutes away from our local dragstrip, which will give us the opportunity to test. That will be a key component for us."
-credit: gm racing