Fort Worth: Bobby Hamilton preview

Bobby Hamilton disagrees with Hamilton Jr. on Texas speed issue. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 2, 2002) -- Have you ever felt the sensation of going 191 mph on a 1.5-mile high-banked oval? Well strap your boots on -- we're heading to Texas Motor...

Bobby Hamilton disagrees with Hamilton Jr. on Texas speed issue.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 2, 2002) -- Have you ever felt the sensation of going 191 mph on a 1.5-mile high-banked oval? Well strap your boots on -- we're heading to Texas Motor Speedway for 334 laps of record-setting speeds on the newly-surfaced asphalt in Fort Worth. Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton has compared notes with fellow racing buddies in efforts to help minimize the effects of the g-forces on his No. 55 machine. This weekend's Samsung/Radio Shack 500 has a lot of NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers worried about the speeds they will run, including Hamilton.

Is Texas too fast?

Yes. I think we're going to be running around that racetrack in about 27 seconds, which means about 201 mph. It also means we'll be going about 191 mph in the middle of the turns. It's fast. If you blow a tire at that speed I guarantee it will knock you for a loop. (Hamilton laughs) I went yesterday and got my will settled up with my lawyer to get ready for Texas.

Have you compared notes with those who have tested in Texas to help you prepare?

The good thing about Texas and these fast race tracks is that everyone pulls together and helps each other out. We're big competitors, but at the same time we care about each other. I've talked with several people that tested there and we've compared notes on what we thought would run well. We're taking the same car that we drove in Atlanta. The guys in the shop did some extra work to it and we think it'll be better this time. It's a scary place, but hopefully we'll all race smart and it'll be fine.

After Bobby Hamilton, Jr. tested in Texas, he stated that the track was very smooth. He also said that it felt like he was only going 100 mph on the 1.5-mile oval. Is there a difference in thoughts between the two of you?

OK, so Jr. comes home from testing there and says that it didn't feel really fast to him. But think about it, he's 23 years old and hasn't really taken a good lick on the race track yet. I guarantee that if he hits the wall in Texas he'll feel every single RPM he was turning. It hurts and makes us older drivers really want to watch what we're doing there. A place like Texas could knock any of us out for a long time.

What should we expect the race to be like?

It's going to be fast. Tires will play into effect there. We will be watching the wear on them during practice so we know what to expect on race day. There won't be a lot of passing each other on the race track, but at the same time the only way to get around each other there is to take the air off their spoiler or bump them. With the new surface, you'll see one-groove racing this time. After it rains several times and they've had a few races on it, I think we'll see two or more grooves like we have in Atlanta. The best thing to do is to take a deep breath, pull the belts on tight and hold on.

-ser-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton