CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 17, 2001) - Picking up the pace after a rare weekend off, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads to Alabama for this weekend's Talladega 500-the second time this season teams will battle with restrictor plates on their ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 17, 2001) - Picking up the pace after a rare weekend off, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads to Alabama for this weekend's Talladega 500-the second time this season teams will battle with restrictor plates on their engines.
Last year, the Square D Racing Team posted its highest finish of the season when driver Kenny Wallace finished second in the Winston 500, the October race at Talladega. The team reopens its superspeedway notebooks this weekend, making comparisons with the similar track at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where driver Bobby Hamilton kicked off the 2001 season with an eighth-place finish. But it takes more than skill to win at Talladega's 2.66-mile oval. It takes luck.
"So many things control your destiny at a racetrack like Talladega," Hamilton said. "If we're around at the end, we'll be in contention for the win. The key to winning on the superspeedway races is keeping yourself around good cars all day. It doesn't take much of a slip to cause a pretty big problem there. But I think the way the rules are, especially at Talladega, that it's tough to get in trouble. They've got the cars driving pretty well.
"I'll trust teammate Joe (Nemechek), but he'll be the only one I do while I race there," Hamilton continued, resting with his feet up in the hauler between double-duty action in the Craftsman truck and Winston Cup events at Martinsville, Va. "When that green flag drops we'll be trying to get to the front, but staying patient and not making any quick moves is the ticket. If you're running well they'll come to you anyhow. That 's what we need to work on when we unload.
"If we draft well with others, be smart, run smooth and prove in our practice runs that we're not scaring people to death, these guys will usually work with us right off the bat. Then we won't have to cut a deal. That's where we want to be for Talladega."
Spotter Bart Creasman added his thoughts about coaching Bobby to the front, with or without the help of the buddy system.
"I'll be looking for the advertisement these drivers make when they put these cars three and four wide in the turns," Bart said, sitting on the counter in the team hauler as the trucks practiced at Martinsville. "These drivers get anxious, but patience is the key. You can't depend on anyone there, so having a good car powered by a patient, smart driver is the answer to victory lane."
Hamilton's desire to win is burning brighter than ever following his fourth-place finish in the Virginia 500 at Martinsville on April 8. , "I want to win worse than I ever have," he told reporters after the race. "This team has given me a taste of how good we can run and it's time to put the Square D Chevy in the winner's bracket."
The 188-lap Talladega 500 will air live on FOX Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m. EST. <pre> Bobby Hamilton's Talladega Performance Profile
Year Event Start Finish 2000 Diehard 500 28 43 Winston 500 19 36 1999 Diehard 500 35 31 Winston 500 23 9 1998 Diehard 500 30 30 Winston 500 37 15 1997 Winston Select 500 35 31 Diehard 500 34 20 1996 Winston Select 500 39 11 Diehard 500 37 17 1995 Winston Select 500 30 15 Diehard 500 39 21 1994 Winston Select 500 39 12 Diehard 500 42 22 1992 Winston 500 34 20 Diehard 500 31 24 1991 Winston 500 14 12 Diehard 500 16 34