CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES Chief Auto Parts Winternationals NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series Pomona Raceway Saturday, Jan. 31, 1998
TOM HAMMONDS -- WINNEBAGO MOTOR HOMES/MATCO TOOLS/KENDALL CAMARO Z28 -- one of the new Pro Stock Chevrolet Camaro Z28 drivers, and power forward for Minnesota Timberwolves NBA basketball team. Tom joins Larry Morgan and Kurt Johnson as members of Team Chevrolet in Pro Stock in 1998: "It's our plan to run a full season in 1999. Everything's been going pretty well. I'm fortunate to be on the Winnebago team for the second year, and to have Chevrolet supporting us. I'm very excited and looking forward to the future. I've been playing basically in the NBA for nine years, I'm getting old and I'm looking forward to a nice, prosperous career in drag racing."
HOW DO YOU SANDWICH YOUR 6'9" FRAME INTO A PRO STOCK CAR: "My crew has it down to an art. They break my legs for the run and reattach them later (joking, of course.) Actually, I'm very comfortable in the car, my chassis builder does a good job fitting me in the car. I wouldn't do it if I wasn't comfortable." NOTE: The chassis is built by Rick Jones, who also builds Kurt Johnson's chassis."
DO YOU HAVE A FIERCE COMPETITION WITH LARRY NANCE? "Every now and then. Actually, we want each other to do very well. We pull for each other, and I'm pulling for him here. I'm trying to cut his throat just as he's trying to cut mine. We're fierce competitors in professional basketball and we'd like to try to carry it over to here."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHEVY DEAL? "To be involved with the Chevrolet racing team and to have Chevrolet select my team to further their drag racing career, it's a dream come true. I have run Chevys pretty much all my life. I campaigned the fastest street legal car, a '69 Chevy Camaro, and to have another Camaro this year in Pro Stock is terrific."
"I've been racing as long as I have been playing basketball. I look forward to the day that I can race full time."
HAVE YOU RACED OTHER CLASSES? "Super Gas, and my street legal car in exhibition races. I did a lot of exhibition races in NHRA, at the U.S. Nationals, pretty much all over the country."
WHEN WILL YOU START THE '98 SEASON? "My first race is in Englishtown. Basically, the NBA season doesn't end until mid-April."
ON DRAG RACING: "This is my passion, this is what I love to do. Thinking about drag racing during the basketball season helps me get through the basketball season."
THE TWO SPORTS ARE SO DIVERSE, WHY DO YOU LIKE DRAG RACING? "I equate the two; they have a lot of similarities. They're both team sports. It takes 12 guys to go out together to be a team to win a basketball game. It's the same with drag racing. I have to have a good crew to put the car together, and I have to do my job as a driver, to go down the track as straight as I can in the best manner as I can. That's what it takes to win."
ON PRO STOCK: "Pro Stock is where I want to make my mark. I grew up watching guys like Lee Shepherd, Bob Glidden and Warren Johnson. All these guys have made a mark in this sport, and I want to be like these guys."
ON DRIVING SCHOOLS: "I have been to Frank Hawley's driving school for Pro Stock, and Roy Hill's school three times. I've had my Pro Stock license eight years. Everything I've done has been Pro Stock. I went back to be a guest instructor at Roy Hill's two times."
IS IT HARD TO COME INTO THE SEASON MIDWAY? "I've done a lot of practicing. I have a full-size Christmas Tree in my living room. When I'm not playing I'm in the living room practicing with the tree. I don't think it will be too much of a big deal. I have a pretty good crew, and we will do a lot of testing before our first race."
ON ENGINES: "I'll be starting my own engine program in the future. Until then we'll be using the same engine Mike Thomas ran last year, they'll come from Mike Thomas. My motor is a little better than the one Mark Osborne has in his car and he's qualified number one." # # #