Bobby Hamilton Charlotte Test 99-05-07

Hamilton, Kodak team hope to shine under the lights in next 3 events Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team enjoy racing under the lights, and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc., outfit from...

Hamilton, Kodak team hope to shine under the lights in next 3 events

Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team enjoy racing under the lights, and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc., outfit from Abingdon, Va., will get a chance to shine in the next three NASCAR Winston Cup events in May. The Pontiac Excitement 400 on May 15 at Richmond, The Winston on May 22 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on May 30 will all get green flags as the sun sets on the western horizon. Hamilton and company completed a rain-interrupted two-day test at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on Thursday and have a three-day test scheduled at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina beginning Monday. Then it's off to Richmond on Thursday for race No. 11 of 34 on the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup schedule. "We didn't get a lot done the first day at Charlotte because of the rain," Hamilton said. "We always run well at Charlotte, but we were just trying to decide which car we were going to run in the 600. "The car we ran at California was the fastest at Charlotte, so we'll probably save that one for the 600. It's really been a good car for us at a lot of different tracks this season. This will be the first time we've raced it at night, so maybe it'll be even better in the dark." Hamilton finished 10th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings last season, his first with the Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. team. Following a 30th-place finish at California Speedway last Sunday, Hamilton is 20th in the standings after the first 10 races. "Everybody is working hard, and we're not going to get down," Hamilton said. "There's plenty of racing left this season. We're not even a third of the way through, so we've got plenty of time to turn it around." Race day coordinator Gary DeHart didn't make the trip to California. Battling a severe case of the flu, DeHart still attended the two-day test at Charlotte. "I'm still feeling pretty rough, but if we start running faster I'm sure I'll feel much better," DeHart said. "I don't really know what this stuff I had was, but I hope I never get it again. It really knocked me out." Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure team would like to deliver a knockout punch of their own soon, and if it happens in one of the upcoming night events, that's just fine with team owner Larry McClure. "I like the night races," McClure said. "You get to spend Sunday at home most of the time and go to your own church. It's good to be home another day. "Friday and Saturday are long days at the track, but that's the price most of these boys are willing to pay in order to have that Sunday off. With all these races in a row, you cherish every time you get an extra day at home." The team hasn't been home very much the last few weeks, and the schedule doesn't let up much the rest of the season. Off weekends are few and far between, and test sessions take up plenty of time during the week. Although the Charlotte test was cut short by rain, McClure said it was pretty much mission accomplished. "I think you just try to figure out which car you're going to run in The Winston and which one you're going to race in the 600." McClure said. "We're going to play it kind of close to the vest and keep our best car for the 600. We're trying to get both cars to have the same feel. We're trying to get where we can race as consistent as we need to be. "The temperature is different than what it'll be for the night race. People try to have their cars real neutral or on the loose side practicing in the heat of the day compared to racing at night, so we try to take all that into consideration when we're making changes. "You try to make some decisions on shocks and springs and gear ratio. As evolution goes and your cars get a little better and your tires get a little better and your car gets a little faster, you've got to start looking at some of those other things. "We kind of crippled the car a little bit at California. We had something wrong with the right front shock. It was making the car real unstable. That's one of the things we tried to determine when we went to test at Charlotte. We put those shocks on and it did the same thing, so we're pretty comfortable that's what it was. "Still, the car wasn't very good, and it was compounded because we cut a tire down and lost two laps. That kind of takes the wind out of your sails, so we're trying to regroup a little bit "We had a good run at Darlington. Bobby had never run good there, and we thought we were building on something. We had Martinsville and Bristol coming up, and we were just off a little bit. If you have a wreck or something, which we did at Martinsville, that kind of hurts you. We're working hard and plan to come back strong."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton