Dover, Del. in early June prepares for the invasion of NASCAR race fans, competitors and armored creatures. Is there a difference? Hmmmmm, yes. As fans fill the stands at Dover Downs International Speedway to watch their favorite...
Dover, Del. in early June prepares for the invasion of NASCAR race fans, competitors and armored creatures. Is there a difference? Hmmmmm, yes. As fans fill the stands at Dover Downs International Speedway to watch their favorite drivers, many observers rush to find seats in the sand on the shores of Delaware Bay to watch the annual gathering of the horseshoe crab, Li mulus polyphemus. Just as the fans in the Delaware area are among the most dedicated on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit, viewers return each year to catch glimpses of the sword-tailed, helmet-shaped animals that can make for an eerie sight in the moon's light. The species, which was ancient before the dinosaurs, is thought to bring good tidings to the areas in which it migrates each year. Bobby Hamilton, who turned 43 on Memorial Day, and the Kodak MAX Film race team hope to be the ones to benefit from those good tidings. They look forward to competing on the concrete oval. Hopes of overcoming problems, which plague the team's finishes, are more apparent. Good tidings to help turn a streak around would be welcome. "Dover is a driver's race track. You have to use a lot of finesse to get around the track. The high banks can be used as an advantage. You don't charge the corners, " Hamliton said. "A driver has to learn how to drive slow and go fast at Dover. Shocks and camber on the right side tire are probably the most important car issues there. If camber isn't set just right, then you see tires blowing. Goodyear has done a great job on coming up with a good tire for the concrete tracks. It's possible to get good tirewear now at Dover. The track used to just eat up tires," the Nashville, Tenn., native said. "The track is consistently improving. They grind it down now, that makes for a smoother surface. There are three grooves to race in. It's a big track, as far as racing surface goes. We can race just as fast high, middle or low. "I feel like we're going to hit on something soon. We're right there, I know we are," Hamilton said. During the MBNA Gold 400 in the fall of last year, the team was running a strong second when a tire blew. "We're ready to tackle Dover Downs," Larry McClure, team owner, said. "We ran pretty good there last year until we had the tire problem. Right now I wish we were racing twice a week. We could figure out what's going on sooner. "We've had three races with broken engine parts, not engines, but engine parts. Daytona, Rockingham and Talladega. If we were to add the points to our standings for those races, we would be 12th in points right now. We can't do that. We realize we just have to go forward. "Because the team has had problems, when we run mediocre, it seems to be magnified. I'm not looking at the points right now. I can't. I have to look at the last race and the next race. "We changed an engine on Sunday morning before the Coca-Cola 600. We changed a rear end gear. Once the race started, we began making adjustments on the car. We might have over-adjusted in some areas. I don't know. Something was amiss on the car. "We're taking the same car to Dover that we raced in The Winston Open. It's a brand new car. We tested it at Michigan. I hope by next week at this time I can add that we won at Dover with it," McClure said with a chuckle. If the car ends up in victory circle at Dover Downs, don't be surprised to see a couple bags of horseshoe crabs around the No. 4 Kodak Max Film transporter in Michigan for the next race.
Morgan-McClure/Hamilton Dover Statistics
MBNA Platinum 400-Started 35th/Finished 21st (16th WC Points)
MBNA Gold 400-Started 31st/Finished 30th (14th WC Points)
MBNA Platinum 400-Started 38th/Finished 17th (15th WC Points)
MBNA Gold 400-Started 37th/Finished 10th (12th WC Points)