Hamilton Hopes For Advantage at Vegas

Hamilton Hopes for Advantage at Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 23, 1998) Bobby Hamilton and the Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet team haven't made a lot of noise but are still looking solid early in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship battle. A ...

Hamilton Hopes for Advantage at Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 23, 1998)

Bobby Hamilton and the Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet team haven't made a lot of noise but are still looking solid early in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship battle. A 12th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 and a ninth-place showing in this past week's GM Goodwrench Service Plus 400 at Rockingham have moved Hamilton to eighth in the standings.

This week's Las Vegas 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will play a crucial role in the early season success of the team. A win or a strong finish by Hamilton could vault the Kodak MAX Film Chevrolet team right into the thick of the title chase.

A flatter track, the 1.5-mile oval fits well with Hamilton's racing style. His previous two victories came at flat tracks, the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway and the 1.017-mile North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Though he has shown considerably prowess on all types of tracks, Las Vegas might best suit his style.

The following are the thoughts of Hamilton heading into the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Las Vegas:

"I was pretty much planning on having won two races by now. That might kind of surprise some people but I can't imagine being with a team or going to a race track figuring you are going to do anything but win the race. I'm one hungry guy, believe me. This is one hungry race team. It's been a while since they've been in Victory Lane and they really want to get back there in a hurry. So do I.

"There's a feeling to winning that's really hard to describe. It's a great feeling. It's pretty addictive too. When you get started in this sport, you think, 'If I could just win one race, just one race,' and then you win one, and you realize it's nowhere near enough. The second win is even better than the first. And I'm already looking forward to telling you how good that third and fourth wins are going to feel. You look at a guy like Jeff Gordon. He wins 10 races last year and was mad about the 22 he didn't win. That's the attitude you need to have but it's an honest attitude. Once you've won, it really tears you up when you don't.

"We're here to win races, plain and simple. I wouldn't have joined this team if I didn't think they had a bunch of winners here, and they wouldn't have wanted me if they didn't think I was a winner. We're going to do whatever it takes to get those wins too. These guys have worked hard at the shop all winter and they've worked hard at the race track. The breaks haven't always come our way but they will. When they do, we're going to be ready. We've run solidly in both races so far, and we'll keep on doing that.

"I've flown over Las Vegas but that's about as close as I've come to seeing the place. It looks pretty nice from the air. We'll be fine. Everybody tells me it's a big Richmond, and that's always been a pretty good track for me. Then somebody else said it was a small Pocono without the tunnel turn and four corners and, after I spent a couple days trying to figure out what the heck that meant, I decided that would be pretty good too.

"We're going to go in like just about everybody else. We're going to be there at noon Thursday for the rookie meeting (since all drivers are rookies at Las Vegas, all are required to attend the rookie session) and we're going to be on the racetrack at 1 o'clock for that four-hour practice. That should give us plenty of time to get everything sorted out and ready to go. The few guys who did test there might have a little bit of an advantage but, for the most part, everybody is going to be pretty equal from the get-go.

"If anybody has an advantage, it's going to be teams like ours, ones that have been winning year-in and year-out and have a lot of general knowledge. We think this Kodak Max Film Chevrolet is going to be just as tough as anybody by Sunday."

Courtesy of NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton