Bobby Hamilton, Kodak Loudon Preview

Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team hope to kick off the second half of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season in style on Sunday in the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamilton, a...

Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team hope to kick off the second half of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season in style on Sunday in the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamilton, a 42-year-old veteran driver from Nashville, Tenn., made his 250th career start last Saturday under the lights at Daytona International Speedway and came home eighth in the Pepsi 400. In his second season behind the wheel of the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Monte Carlo, Hamilton recorded his fifth top-10 finish of the season and moved to 14th in the series standings after 17 of 34 races on the 1999 schedule. With winnings of $975,294 this season, Hamilton should go over the million dollar mark in Sunday’s Jiffy Lube 300 at NHIS. Hamilton finished 15th in last year’s July race at the Magic Mile after taking a provisional starting spot. He’s looking for improvement in both starting and finishing positions this time around. “I like New Hampshire,” Hamilton said. “Everybody says I’m a flat-track driver, and I’m not so sure that’s the case, but if I am, then New Hampshire should be my kind of track because it’s really flat.” The 1.058-mile track in Loudon, N.H., has a 12-degree banking, much like Phoenix where Hamilton notched his first NASCAR Winston Cup victory in 1996. The Desert Mile in Phoenix has 11-degree banking in turns one and two and nine-degree banking in turns three and four. Hamilton also has victories at Rockingham and Martinsville to his credit, but he’s looking for his first win this season with the Morgan-McClure outfit. Ranked 14th in the series standings at the midway point, Hamilton is 185 points out of 10th place, 441 points out of fifth and 844 points behind series leader Dale Jarrett. “We finished 10th in last season’s standings and came on strong at the end to do that,” Hamilton said. “We’ve gone through some growing pains to start the season. We switched chassis, and we’re gaining on that. The cars are getting more and more comfortable, and we’ve got plenty of horsepower. “We’re going to put it all together and make a run on the top 10. We wanted to shoot for the top five this season, but if you look at the five drivers at the top of the leaderboard, well, those teams have been together for a long time. “I think as we get more and more time together, we’re going to be a team that can win every week at any kind of track. I thought we would have won a race by now, but we’re gaining on it every week, and who knows, we might end up in victory lane at Loudon.” Hamilton has put together a string of strong runs with finishes of 10th, 11th and eighth at Pocono, Sonoma and Daytona, in his last three starts. With momentum building entering the second half of the ‘99 campaign, team owner Larry McClure says the sky’s the limit for the Kodak team in the next 17 events. “I know I’m looking forward to the second half of the season, and I’m sure Bobby is to,” McClure said. “I think we’re going to keep running better and better as the season goes along. Our pit stops just keep getting better, too. We don’t lose spots when we pit anymore. In fact, we’re starting to gain on pit stops.” Hamilton came in for a two-tire pit stop at Daytona last week in the Pepsi 400 and went back out 19th with 11 laps remaining. He gained 11 spots before the checkered flag and ended up eighth. “I got hooked up with Ward Burton and we took off,” Hamilton told guests at the Wildhorse Saloon last Sunday at Disney World. “Everyone started beating and banging, and that opened things up for us. I wish we’d had a few more laps. We could have ended up in the top five.” Hamilton, team owner McClure and his wife Ginny were grand marshals of the Disney Main Street USA Parade on The Fourth of July. They greeted visitors to the famous theme park, signed autographs and participated in a dedication ceremony for a Peri-Kaleidoscope at Disney’s Downtown Marketplace. “We had a lot of fun at Disney World,” McClure said. “I enjoyed the parade, signing autographs and saying hello to all the fans who came out to celebrate the Fourth of July. “Now we’re going to Loudon and try to do a little celebrating of our own on Sunday. I’d sure like for that celebration to start in victory lane.” In other news regarding the No. 4 Kodak team, Morgan-McClure Motorsports has scheduled an open house on July 17 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the team’s state-of-the-art race shop in Abingdon, Va. Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet Racing Team driver Bobby Hamilton will be signing autographs from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. A fee of $1 per person at the gate will be donated to local police and fire departments. Children under 12 will be admitted free, and free food will be available while supplies last. Team owner Larry McClure and members of the Kodak Racing Team will be on hand to greet visitors. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports Museum is located adjacent to the race shop and will be open to the public. Take exit 22 off Interstate 81 to the shop.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett