Chemistry a success for Hamilton By Shawn A. Akers TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 22, 1998) The marriage between Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Bobby Hamilton appeared to be a match made in heaven. With Hamilton's short-track skills...
Chemistry a success for Hamilton By Shawn A. Akers
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 22, 1998)
The marriage between Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Bobby Hamilton appeared to be a match made in heaven. With Hamilton's short-track skills and the solid superspeedway program of the No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet race team, success seemed eminent for the team in 1998.
Last Monday at Martinsville Speedway, Hamilton held up his end of the bargain in winning the Goody's Headache Powders 500 from the Bud Pole at the half-mile oval. This weekend, Hamilton and the team will once again put their superspeedway prowess to the test when they head to Talladega Superspeedway for the DieHard 500.
With Sterling Marlin behind the wheel, the No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet team won five superspeedway races between 1994 and 1996, including two races at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. In fact, Morgan-McClure Motorsports has won nine races in the last 28 restrictor-plate events (Daytona and Talladega).
"When we first agreed last year that Bobby was going to come over and drive for us, we figured our strengths would help each side," said Team Manager Larry McClure. "He'd (Hamilton) always been pretty good on the mile and short tracks, and we'd always been pretty good on the big superspeedways. Well, he sure came through on his end at Martinsville, so I guess it's back at us now.
"We'll head into Talladega figuring we'll do everything we can to win the race. We've run pretty well there over the years. We've got a great engine program, a great Talladega car we've already spent a lot of time on, and a great driver. We've fine-toothed that Talladega car every way we can. We've gone over it and gone over it and, after we get to Talladega, we'll go over it some more."
At Martinsville, Hamilton earned his third career NASCAR Winston Cup Series victory. He won at Rockingham last fall, and at Phoenix in the fall of 1996. Hamilton hopes he can continue the Morgan-McClure tradition of superspeedway success.
"I don't know that we were particularly surprised we won at Martinsville any more than we'll be particularly surprised if we win at Talladega," Hamilton said. "That doesn't mean I'm sitting here predicting we'll win at Talladega, just that we've been heading in this direction from the very beginning.
"At the beginning of the season, Larry (McClure) promised me that if I could help them on the short tracks, they'd help me on the superspeedways. I believed that then and I believe it now. We didn't have much time to celebrate Martinsville, but that's okay. I'm hoping we'll be doing more celebrating this time next week."
Hamilton has climbed his way into contention for a spot in the top-10 in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. After a 26th-place finish at Texas dropped him back to 18th in the standings, the victory at Martinsville helped him jump all the way to 13th after eight races in 1998.
Hamilton is 15 points behind 12th-place Michael Waltrip and only 27 points behind 10th-place Jeff Burton in the standings.
"I came to this team because I thought they were winners, and I feel like they wanted me to drive their race cars because they thought I was one, too. We've proven each other right now. We're not going to be perfect every week still. We're still going to be off a couple of places but, as we move down the road, you'll see less and less of that. The biggest thing is nobody has gotten down on themselves or down on each other. You hear that every day, but believe me, it's true."
Hamilton finished 12th at Daytona in February in his first superspeedway race with the No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet team. Source: NASCAR Online