Restrictor plates will never be Hamilton's favorite cup of tea Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team enter Sunday's DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with one of the best records of the decade at the 2.66-mile ...
Restrictor plates will never be Hamilton's favorite cup of tea
Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team enter Sunday's DieHard 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with one of the best records of the decade at the 2.66-mile track. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports team has won four of the last 13 events at Talladega. Although Hamilton has never driven one of the Morgan-McClure Chevys into victory lane at Talladega, the 41-year-old driver from Nashville, Tenn., realizes that engine builder Runt Pittman is the master of the restrictor-plate motors used at Daytona and Talladega. Still, Hamilton makes no bones about it. Restrictor-plate racing isn't his favorite cup of tea and never will be. "I don't have any use for the restrictor-plate races," Hamilton said. "It's not racing. It's not driving. It's who's got the best motor and who's got the best car. That's all it is. The rest is history." Hamilton addressed the restrictor-plate question this way last week when he was talking to a group of juniors and seniors at Martinsville High School. "I don't like them. I think they suck," Hamilton said. "The reason we're on restrictor plates is more of a safety issue for the race fan. Of course, it's a safety factor for the drivers, too. "What happens is, these cars are like airplanes. At 192 mph, they're ready to fly. When they get turned around backwards, they actually get in the air. We've got 430 horsepower. Every five horsepower is two mph. If we take the restrictor plate off, it's 735 hp. "Throw the drag factor in, and we're looking at speeds of 240 mph. Not only would we fly, but we'd land in the top of the grandstands. That's what we've got to be real careful with." The Morgan-McClure team has decided to use the Monte Carlo that Hamilton wrecked at Daytona in February. The No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing team completed a two-day test last week at Talladega with the car, and Hamilton says it's just like brand new. "We never made a qualifying run or anything, so I don't know how I stack up," Hamilton said. "Nothing feels good with the shocks we're using. When you bolt the race setup on, it'll feel better. "I'm good on everything. I think we've got a shot at winning the race. You've got 42 other people controlling your destiny. If one other person screws up and spins somebody out it'll take out half the field. It really doesn't make any difference where you start. "A man can start on the pole, but he won't be there forever. He might be out front for 10 laps and be 30th the next lap." Despite Hamilton's complaints with the restrictor plates, he says NASCAR is doing a good job controlling speeds at the big tracks. "They're doing all they can do," Hamilton said. "There's nothing else they can do. We're stuck with it. They're doing exactly what they've got to do to make it work." Now Hamilton has to do whatever it takes to drive the No. 4 Kodak Monte Carlo into victory lane. A little bit of luck would go a long way, especially at Talladega, but Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure team believe in creating their own luck. "So many cars have got good stuff now," Hamilton said. "It's not easy to win anywhere. It takes a lot of luck, too. You need to be up front. If you can stay up front it's easier not to get in trouble." But Hamilton realizes when running up front it isn't always easy to stay out of trouble -- especially at superspeedways like Talladega. "Who likes the place?" Hamilton asked. "I don't know anyone who likes it. You go faster at California and Charlotte. We've got good motors. I think our car will be good. We'll just have to go down there and see how we qualify. "We don't have a motor problem, and motor comes into play quite a bit at Talladega. That's one advantage for our team, I think. We're doing things different on the bodies than we have in the past. It could be for the better. We'll just have to wait and see. You never know what to expect at Talladega, but if we can stay out of the big one, we should be in good shape."