CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 24, 2001) - The Square D Racing Team left Talladega (Ala.) in high spirits Sunday following Bobby Hamilton's first victory of the 2001 season - the first win for car owner Andy Petree, crew chief Jimmy Elledge and sponsor...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (April 24, 2001) - The Square D Racing Team left Talladega (Ala.) in high spirits Sunday following Bobby Hamilton's first victory of the 2001 season - the first win for car owner Andy Petree, crew chief Jimmy Elledge and sponsor Square D. But there was no time to relax. The team shifted gears and flew west for a test Tuesday and Wednesday on the road course at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Ca. Then the newly crowned victors will travel south down the California coast for the NAPA Auto Parts 500 at California Speedway in Fontana--the 11th race of the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
Hamilton's performance this season has put Andy Petree Racing and Square D in the highest points position they've ever achieved in the Winston Cup Series. His steady climb to fourth in points has allowed the APR Race team to establish a strong position since the beginning of the season in the top-ten for the Winston Cup Championship. Until Sunday's spectacular victory, Hamilton had quietly progressed up the rankings in the points battle with five top-10 finishes in the first 10 races.
"We're carrying the same car to Fontana that I drove in Texas which ran strong for us there the whole day," Hamilton said. "I think that it will be another good race for us but we're keeping our goals in mind, which is trying to stay patient to keep up the pace in this points race."
Since the track's opening in 1997, the Winston Cup drivers have raced door-to-door and bumper-to-bumper around the two-mile oval at Fontana, which Hamilton compares to Michigan's speedway.
"There generally becomes two grooves in the race," Hamilton said in his motorhome while petting "Short Track," a dog visiting from another coach. "It gets just like Michigan where the teams usually pick the low groove to pass. "Sometimes the teams get backed up there on the lower groove and it usually helps to roll outside for the pass. But most of our racing in the Square D Chevy will be on the bottom. That's the fastest way around."
The 250-lap NAPA Auto Parts 500 will air live on FOX Sunday, April 29 at 2:30 p.m. EST.
<pre> Bobby Hamilton's Fontana Performance Profile
Year Event Start Finish 2000 NAPA Auto Parts 500 12 18 1999 California 500 by NAPA 18 30 1998 California 500 by NAPA 31 27 1997 California 500 by NAPA 30 23