Frontstretch Crash Hinders Results For First Time This Season RICHMOND, Va., (May 5, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton had unfortunate luck for the first time this season and finished 28th in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Frontstretch Crash Hinders Results For First Time This Season
RICHMOND, Va., (May 5, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton had unfortunate luck for the first time this season and finished 28th in the Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Hamilton's finish dropped him two positions to ninth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship points battle, still holding on in the top-10.
In the first night race of the 2001 season the team raced "Stepchild," the car Hamilton drove to fourth in Martinsville earlier this year. This weekend, however, did not bring the same luck for Stepchild, even though it carried a distinctive lightning bolt paint scheme for the night race. Hamilton was caught up in the seven-car crash on the frontstretch on lap 231. But the team kept racing and salvaged as many positions as possible. To keep from losing the laps, they repaired and adjusted the car with many quick stops rather than one long one.
During the first caution on lap 120, Bobby radioed that he thought the car had an air push, so the Square D Pit Crew added duct tape to the front end of the No. 55 Chevy. Jimmy called Bobby in three different times to get the tape adjusted. Then he made a fourth trip to pit road for a routine pit stop by the crew. This strategy enabled the team to stay only one lap down.
"I thought I had a tire going down, but when the other cars would get beside me it would only go straight into the turns," Bobby said over the radio to Jimmy. After the race, he noted, "Our car wasn't running hot so we tried the tape to help with the push."
The next caution came out on lap 198 when the 96 car spun on the backstretch. Bobby came in two more times so the crew could add more tape to the No. 55 Chevy.
But Hamilton's luck took a turn for the worse with the crash near the start/finish line on lap 231. The team jumped into overdrive. Some crewmen fashioned strips of tape to hold on the decklid while others cut the bumper off. Hamilton brought the car into the pits three different times to avoid losing any more laps.
During the next pit stop under caution on lap 281, the crew made an adjustment to the track bar to re-align the rear end to compensate for the damage.
With only six laps to go the 93 car spun on the backstretch and the race was stopped under a red flag so the track crews could clean up for a three-lap shootout. Hamilton managed to finish the race in front of scattered incidents as cars spun each other on the final lap. Although he was 4 laps down, he and the team had saved many more with their pit stop strategy.
Tony Stewart won the 400-lap race on the .750-mile oval. Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Steve Park, and Ricky Rudd followed in the top five.