Hamilton deals with March Madness; prepares for two-day Bristol test Bobby Hamilton experienced an unwanted version of March Madness on Sunday in the PRIMESTAR 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. The...
Hamilton deals with March Madness;
prepares for two-day Bristol test
Bobby Hamilton experienced an unwanted version of March Madness on Sunday in the PRIMESTAR 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. The 41-year-old Nashville, Tenn., driver started 33rd in the 43-car field after suffering with the flu all weekend. Hamilton managed to stay behind the wheel of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo until late in the race when exhaust fumes finally forced him to call on relief help from fellow Chevy driver Kenny Wallace. The Morgan-McClure team completed the driver switch without a hitch, and Wallace finished 29th in the Kodak Monte Carlo. That enabled the Morgan-McClure team to drop only one position in the Winston Cup standings after the first six races. Hamilton is 14th and only 56 points behind 10th-place Michael Waltrip. Hamilton was treated for dehydration at the Texas Motor Speedway infield care center and flew back home to Nashville on Sunday night. He felt a little better Monday but had a mild fever Monday night. Although he's not 100 percent, Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure team have a two-day test scheduled at Bristol Motor Speedway today and Wednesday in preparation for the Food City 500 on April 11. "I'll feel better Tuesday morning, and even if I don't, I felt good enough on Monday to test," Hamilton said. "I probably should have gone to the infield care center earlier last weekend and got checked out. I knew I was sick, but I didn't know I was that sick." Team owner Larry McClure agreed with his driver. "He might have been a little sicker than he thought before the race started," McClure said. "He told us he needed a relief driver, but we couldn't understand him on the radio. We noticed he was losing time on the track. He was dehydrated, and I think that was his biggest problem. "Kenny Wallace got in it for us, and I'm glad he did. He was a blast. He stayed out of trouble. He said the car was loose getting in, and that's the same thing Bobby said. He said the motor ran real good. It gives you another view of where you are with the car, but he did a real nice job for us, and we appreciated that. "We want to make the most out of the Bristol test, and I know Bobby will be ready to go if at all possible. We're looking forward to these next two races (Bristol and Martinsville). We haven't been able to put together two strong back-to-back finishes yet this season, but with a little luck we should be able to do that at Bristol and Martinsville."
After the Bristol test, Hamilton plans to go to Monroe, Wash., on Thursday for a NASCAR Craftsman Series truck race. His son, Bobby Jr., will compete in the Busch race at Nashville on Saturday. And Bobby's wife Debbie, plans to watch her husband's truck and her son race this weekend. "I should be able to get home just in time after the Busch race to watch the truck race," Debbie Hamilton said. "I never get tired of racing, but I do get tired of traveling and it's a lot easier watching Bobby Jr. race in Nashville than going to Washington to watch Bobby's truck. "I'll try to pump up Bobby Jr. for the Busch race, and Bobby can pump up his truck team (with driver Butch Miller). Hopefully Bobby will be feeling better, and he won't need anybody to pump him up next week at Bristol." Hamilton finished 18th and 11th in the two races at Bristol last season, but he's counting on improving on those performances this time around high-banked .533-mile track. "Bristol is a tough track, and if anything happens, it happens fast," Hamilton said. "You've got to qualify up front and you need to run up front to stay out of trouble and that doesn't always guarantee that you will. I like the track. It's the home track for the Morgan-McClure team, and we want to go and put a good show on there for the home fans. "I don't know if there's anything like a home field advantage in racing, but you can use all the luck you can get at Bristol. We'll work hard Tuesday and Wednesday and get as ready as we can for 'em next week."