CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Jan. 10, 2002)& ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (Jan. 10, 2002)– Bobby Hamilton’s No. 55 Chevrolet is sporting a whole new look for the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season. From the new Schneider Electric logo on the hood to the Square D logo on the television panel, the Andy Petree Racing (APR) team has changed it all, even by adding a new crew chief, Charley Pressley.
But one thing remains constant– Bobby Hamilton– the driver that finished the 2001 season higher than any other current or former APR driver (18th). An exciting fact for APR, but for Hamilton, it’s not enough. Despite the off season, Hamilton’s focus is on keeping his racing career on top of the game.
"This winter, we’ve been through some things that have forced us to put on our thinking caps," Hamilton continued. "We decided to take it one element at a time. First things first. Right now we have to focus on Daytona, but still look ahead so that we are ready for Las Vegas.
"We’ve accomplished a lot so far in the off season," Hamilton continued. "Everyone thinks we all sit around and catch up on lost sleep. But contrary to popular belief, we use that time to look for a competitive edge to get us ahead before going to Daytona."
Hoping for an extra edge in the crew chief department, Hamilton’s first choice was Charley Pressley– the latest addition to the Schneider Electric Racing team. "I think he’s going to be a tremendous help to our program," Hamilton said. "I worked with Charley in 1998 and I had my best finish in the points that season (10th).
"I went to the shop for his first day because I felt it was important to show the team I’m behind him 100%. They welcomed him just as I did," Hamilton continued. "See, with Charley and I, there is no learning curve. We get along great and it showed in our past performances."
Hamilton supported Pressley while he got acquainted with the program at APR. Although Pressley had been at the Flat Rock, N.C. facility for only a few hours, the duo found some time to discuss what they expected from the 2002 season. "Basically, we agreed that our focus would be our flat track program and the tracks that we seemed to struggle with last year," Hamilton said. "I think Charley brings a lot of knowledge to us in that particular area.
"We talked about testing and what we wanted to gain from each track that we planned to visit," Hamilton said. "It boiled down to that we want to win more races and have better qualifying runs, which will help us finish better in the points race this year.
"I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good year," Hamilton said. "Hopefully, over the winter we’re ironing out all the kinks that might get us behind the eight ball. We want to be ahead of the game right off the bat."