CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 18, 2001) -- When Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Racing Team arrive at New Hampshire International Speedway Raceway Friday for this weekend's New England 300, they will find a new sealer on the surface of the 1.058-mile...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 18, 2001) -- When Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Racing Team arrive at New Hampshire International Speedway Raceway Friday for this weekend's New England 300, they will find a new sealer on the surface of the 1.058-mile oval. Hamilton and crew chief Jimmy Elledge are anticipating how this will help the No. 55 Chevy when the green flag drops on Sunday.
"We're taking a different car than we've ever taken for this race," Elledge said on the phone Wednesday from the Andy Petree Racing (APR) shop. "We've always taken a really finicky car to this track. Last year we saw that as the sealer wore off of the track's surface, it changed dramatically. We decided that this year we would take a little more forgiving racecar with Bobby to see if that works out better.
"It always poses a challenge because the sealer is on the track when you get there and about halfway through the race, it's worn out," Elledge continued. "So the setup of the car and how that might change throughout the race is critical. You're always chasing that racetrack; the temperature, the sealer and the track surface-- things that make the car react different. You go to Loudon and look at and just say,‘ Wow.' You wonder why they don't make any more places like Bristol (Tenn.) and Richmond (Va.). At the same time, you wonder what they were thinking when they made Loudon."
Elledge then paged Hamilton, and when his driver picked up the phone, questioned Hamilton about Loudon. Hamilton's comments mirrored those made by Elledge.
"One thing that really works on a driver there is that every time we go back, the sealer is either worn off or in this case this year -- it's totally different," Hamilton continued. "They have new sealer down and nobody knows what to expect from it. The setup varies somewhat between the differences of the race track, and we'll find that out when we get there.
"A big concern of the drivers and crew chiefs there is that you don't want to be one of the first three to qualify. The track does something early that nobody has ever figured out. So it really hurts if you qualify early. A perfect day there would be to go out about 20th for our qualifying run. That way we'd go out in the middle of the pack to make our qualifying lap, which would probably stabilize us in the top 15 to a top 20 starting the race.
"This racetrack has such long straightaways with such tight corners that you have to have a really free racecar to get in the middle of those corners," Hamilton said. "If you get off one corner well, then you don't have to attack the other corner quite as hard if you keep your car real free.
"Happy hours are pretty easy there because once the track gets run on quite a bit then the tires come around a lot quicker. We just need to hope for good weather and that we get a lot of laps there and the racing part should be easier from there." <pre> Bobby Hamilton's Loudon Performance Profile
Year Event Start Finish
2000 Thatlook.com 300 36 22 Dura Lube 300 by Kmart 14 35
1999 Jiffy Lube 300 39 16 Dura-Lube/Kmart 300 9 11
1998 Jiffy Lube 300 37 15 CMT 300 10 34
1997 Jiffy Lube 300 2 31 CMT 300 2 3
1996 Slick 50 300 2 20
1995 Slick 50 300 26 16
1994 Slick 50 300 38 40