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>From NASCAR Public Relations and Pontiac Motorsports NOTES AND QUOTES Food City 500 Advance Bristol International Raceway March 26~ 1996 'CONCRETE' COMEBACK BEGAN AT BRISTOL: It was one year ago that Petty Enterprises began it's return back...

>From NASCAR Public Relations and Pontiac Motorsports

NOTES AND QUOTES Food City 500 Advance Bristol International Raceway March 26~ 1996

'CONCRETE' COMEBACK BEGAN AT BRISTOL: It was one year ago that Petty Enterprises began it's return back to prominence when Bobby HAMILTON charged from a lap down in the STP Pontiac to finish fourth in the Food CITY 500 at Bristol International Raceway.

It marked Petty Enterprises best finish since Wally Dallenbach finished fourth at the Sears Point road course the previous season Hamilton and the team were beginning to establish finishing consistency as Hamilton's best career finish to that point gave the outfit it's third top-10 placing in four starts.

The strong run also served as an omen of things to come from the teats on NASCAR Winston Cup's short tracks. Hamilton posted three top-five and five top-10 finishes in eight short track races last season. This year, he finished sixth in the only short track race thus far at Richmond.

In his nine short track starts for Petty Enterprises) Hamilton's average starting position is 9.6, while his average finish is 9.444. He's completed 98.9 percent of the laps run.

Hamilton's record in his nine short track starts for Petty Enterprises:

RACE Track Lap/Total Start/Finish

Pontiac 400 Richmond 349/400 2/9 Food City 500 Bristol 500/500 17/4 First Union 400 N. Wilkesboro 398/400 4/13 Hanes 500 Martinsville 356/356 6/8 Goody's 500 Bristol 466/500 31/20 Miller 400 Richmond 400/400 9/5 Goody's 500 Martinsville 500/i00 12/4 Holly Farms 400 N. Wilkesboro 398/400 3/16 Totals: 3,417/3,456 10.5/9.875 (98.8%) (avg.)

*Pontiac 400 Richmond 400/400 3/6 1995-96 Totals: 3,817/3,856 9.6/9.444 (98.9%) (avg.)

"I knew the very first time I practiced the car for this team, which was at Richmond, that we would make a special combination. It just took us until Bristol to get all our stuff together. We're looking forward to going back. The car we used at Darlington is our Bristol car, and I don't think we put a scratch on it. We just had to rim it through the paint shop and touch it up a little bit I remember everybody wearing tires out at that race last year. That's what we didn't do. That's what we're going to try and do again."

ROBBIE LOOMIS, Crew chief (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): "Once we ran so well at Bristol we knew we could go on and do it at other places. We're taking the same car we ran at Darlington and taking it to Bristol, so hopefully. it will be in real good shape for us.

"This is our 'concrete car .' The car is a whole lot stronger than anything we've got in the shop. Bobby keeps asking me to build him another one. We've got them building one right now, and the chassis builder is working on a chassis. It's just a good car. I think it's one of those cars where when you get the thing right it will stay with you all day long

"The way it came to be called our 'concrete car' is that it was built for the high banks. Everytime we'd go and run the high bank tracks ail the interior sheet metal would be warped ups you know? We thought the chassis was flexing. So we went home, put the car on the plate and twisted it, and built this car that has all these stiff bars and braces on it and stuff."

DALE INMAN, team manager (No. 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix): 'When we have a wreck we'll look down and see if the frame is bent. Sometimes you can't tell if it's bent or not. When you look up at the fire wall and can see it's bent, then you know it's bent. So it's flexed up there. It's the same way in the rear, if it gets to flexing, if it flexes enough, it will leave a dent in it. When that happens, you know you're flexing back there. At borne places flexing is actually a plus for handling, and at some places it's a negative. It would be a negative at a place like Dover and Bristol, for sure. That's because the concrete bumps are so harsh.

"So, we anchored this car down on a surface plate with no suspension on it, and we put a bar out on the end of it to an extension of about five or six feet, and put weight on it for leverage, and then measured in the thousandths how much it moved before and after.

"You know how they have a wind tunnel in Detroit? They also have a chassis deal up there where they can put the car On it and flex everything. We'd been through all that stuff, but we never could find the true benefit.

"The way it came about that it got to be known as our 'concrete car' was when we were going to Dover last year, and someone asked, 'Well we're going to Dover. What car are we going to take?' We're going to take the Bristol car.' 'Well, that's ol' 'Concrete.' The name kind of stuck. It wasn't built for that, ally it didn't start out Vital that name. We run Rockingham and Darlington with it, too

"Our strong run at Bristol last year let me know that our chassis was good. But I'll tell you what really helped us at Darlington, and that was the fact that our pit stops were fantastic Richard had them one tinge at 18 seconds. I timed two or three at 19 seconds

"Bobby wants to win so darn bad that I'm cautioning; him not to get down. It's like Dale Jarrett said 'Once we win one, I think the other ones will come a heckuva lot easier."

A FLOP? HARDLY,: Although the new Pontiac Grand Prix has yet to win on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit as its early season development continues, improvements in Pontiac's performance over the season's first five races are clearly evident compared to the same time span last year. Pontiac failed to win a pole through the first five races last season, continuing a pole-less streak which would reach 72 races before Pennzoil Pontiac driver JOHNNY BENSON broke the string in the ear's fourth start out this year at Atlanta. WARD BURTON followed that with a pole at Darlington in the MBNA Pontiac, given; the new Grand Prix two consecutive poles.

Following the first five races last season, Pontiac drivers had led two of 1,713 laps. This season, Pontiac drivers have led 172 of 1,713. That's 10 percent of the laps run. Considering the five full-time Pontiacs equate to 12.5 percent of the starting field in 40-ear lineups, those are not bad numbers.

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett