Legendary crew chief, car builder will help lead rookie candidate. CONCORD, NC (March 13, 2003) -- 17-year-old Casey Smith will now make a run for the $50,000 2003 ASA Rookie of the Year award under the watchful eye of Robert Hamke. After a few...
Legendary crew chief, car builder will help lead rookie candidate.
CONCORD, NC (March 13, 2003) -- 17-year-old Casey Smith will now make a run for the $50,000 2003 ASA Rookie of the Year award under the watchful eye of Robert Hamke. After a few years away from the show, veteran short track team leader Robert Hamke is making a return to the ASA Racing Series in 2003. Hamke's comeback revolves around the Texas-based Smith Racing team and driver Casey Smith. Hamke will stand tall atop the pit box and assume crew chief duties on the #08 Texas Department of Health Chevrolet Monte Carlo, beginning with the season opener at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL on March 22nd.
"I can not express how fired up I am about working with Robert for the upcoming season," said Casey Smith. "Robert is so knowledgeable and has worked side-by-side honing the skills of great drivers like Ken Schrader, Jack Sprague and David Stremme. He produces great talent and excellent equipment; so much so that many of today's top drivers, like Schrader, still use Robert's stuff for their short track programs."
While on Spring Break this past week from Bowie High School in Austin (TX), Smith made his way to Hamke's race shop in Mooresville, NC to work hand-in-hand in preparing the 2003 car before heading to Hickory Motor Speedway and Concord Motorsport Park to test.
"My team is great and they have really stood beside me since we started dabbling in ASA competition last year," added Smith. "We had one bad luck thing after another happen last year and certainly didn't run where we wanted to or could have. We are entering this year even more prepared, and having Robert join us will only enhance that. I feel we will be very competitive and will be a sleeper in many people's eyes."
Hamke's cars, produced out of his Hamke's Race Cars and Parts in Mooresville, have long been favorites among ASA competitors, and his other short track cars are popular all around the country. Hamke's most recent involvement in ASA came with current NASCAR Busch Series competitor David Stremme when he raced ASA in 2001.
"Everything is finally coming together and I think, with some positive test sessions, we will be a force to be reckoned with in 2003. We've got a great primary sponsor in the Texas Department of Health and now we have a great crew chief. I can hardly wait to get the year going."
The "Tobacco is Foul" campaign is aimed at young Texans, specifically in the Houston-Beaumont/Port Arthur area. It is part of a pilot project funded by money from the 1998 Texas Tobacco Settlement. Last year, the project led to a 40 percent reduction in middle school tobacco use in the Houston-Beaumont/Port Arthur area.