Elation over a 16th-place finishing position in the Global Crossing @ the Glen? Absolutely. The top-20 finish handed in by Bobby Hamilton, driver of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo, and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports crew was almost as ...
Elation over a 16th-place finishing position in the Global Crossing @ the Glen? Absolutely. The top-20 finish handed in by Bobby Hamilton, driver of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo, and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports crew was almost as sweet as a top-five finish. Sighs of relief came at the end of the 90-lap Winston Cup series event held on the winding road course in the rolling hills of Watkins Glen, NY. Hamilton brought the familiar yellow Chevy into the garage at the end of the race without a scratch on it. Quite an accomplishment for a day of rubbing and banging, but the key words here are at the end of the race. A team which has tasted the sweetness of victory 14 times in the past was happy to make it to the end of a race without a mishap. For the past few weeks, motor problems have plagued the team's finishes. The last top-20 finish came in June at Sears Point Raceway, the other road course on the circuit, with a 14th place showing. Danny Gill, who logged his first race finish as crew chief in a Winston Cup event, will lead the Abingdon, Va., based team into the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway with extra momentum. Morgan-McClure plans to return to competition at Michigan with a sister car to the one raced at Watkins Glen.
Larry McClure (team owner) quotes on Watkins Glen/Michigan: "We had a good car, we had a pretty good weekend. We've had some engine problems. The engine we ran at Watkins Glen had over 500 miles on it. We wanted to test it. It has a different combination on it and it turned out OK. We finished the race. I know we abused the engine, we turned a lot of rpm's on the downshift. Bobby was probably on pins and needles, because we've had engine problems the last couple of races. However, one of them wasn't ours (the engine run at Indy was bought from another race team). It just makes us feel good to finish a race. "Bobby didn't want to get into trouble. He could have raced a little bit harder, I thought. He would probably tell you the same thing, but he wanted to get a good finish. We are so far back in the points. If we could move up to the mid-20's in points in the next few races, it would take some of the pressure off of everyone. It has been real hectic at Morgan-McClure. I've been putting a lot of pressure on everyone. We've been making changes with engines and cars and crew chiefs. We're trying to come up with the right combination for us and for Bobby Hamilton. "I feel like this is a step in the right direction. We have to take each step, one at a time. I'm happy for Danny Gill. I'm happy for the race team. He's doing a good job. It's pretty cool. He makes a call, whatever it is, and he's decisive and sticks to it. That's what we need. All of the people, I have to admit, are respecting him. He's earning it. It all seems like it is working. One race is hard to go on, but I think we made the right call by hiring him. Hamilton had some input on me hiring him. He has done a good job, so far. "I'm just happy we finished a race. Now, I look forward to going to Michigan and the races we have coming up."
Quotes from Bobby Hamilton (driver) on Watkins Glen/Michigan: "We were real happy with the car. If we had pulled a little different gear it would have helped us. We know now what other people pulled. We've torn up so much stuff and broke so much stuff that we said we were going to be conservative. We're so far back in points, we need to finish. We finished 16th and that's like a win for us because we haven't been finishing. They're working hard now trying to turn it around. We all are. Danny Gill (crew chief) made excellent pit calls. The guys worked good together all weekend. Actually we were pretty good all weekend. It's a good weekend for us. There's a lot of progression being made right now, and when we put it all together, I think we'll be in good shape. It's definitely a stepping stone. When you get in this bad a shape, it took a long time to get this way. It's not going to happen overnight. If we can just hold everybody together and keep digging, we'll be in good shape. We had a real fast car at Michigan last time and cut a tire down and totaled the car. We're carrying a new car, the sister car to the one we raced at Watkins Glen. I told them once we get past Michigan we ought to be on the incline from here on out. "A lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes that are making the race team better and a lot of that came into play. We're just going to try to keep digging."
Quotes from Danny Gill (Crew Chief) on Watkins Glen/Michigan: "I came on board as crew chief and we broke engines at Pocono and Indy, so it's just a relief to finish a race. These guys work hard. It's a good race team. I'm glad for them and for Hamilton. Maybe we can take this and build from it and go to the next one with some momentum going. "I put more pressure on myself than anyone else on this team does. Right now, I just feel relief. I'm a very competitive person. Sixteenth is awesome and great in Winston Cup, but we still didn't win. So now all I'm trying to do is figure out what we are going to do to win. I'm excited with the finish, but I know we need top-10's and top-fives. That is my goal before the end of the year. You have to crawl before you can walk. I just have to remember that. "Michigan is not the greatest racetrack for us, but I think we can carry some of the stuff we've learned over the past few weeks back with us and do all right. We have a really good racecar for there. I feel much better about going to Michigan after this past weekend."
Hamilton/Morgan-McClure Michigan Stats
Kmart 400-Started 41/Finished 43
Kmart 400-Started 38/Finished 31
Pepsi 400-Started 40/Finished 35
MillerLite 400-Started 19/Finished 38
Pepsi 400-Started 24/Finished 20
1996-Hamilton won the pole for the Miller 400