No place like Homestead for McCall, Hamilton By Brett Borden HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 4, 1998) The newest addition to the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule, the Jiffy Lube Miami 400 on Nov. 14, 1999, at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex,...
No place like Homestead for McCall, Hamilton By Brett Borden
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 4, 1998) The newest addition to the NASCAR Winston Cup schedule, the Jiffy Lube Miami 400 on Nov. 14, 1999, at Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex, hasn't exactly been a tough sell in the garage area. After all, it's South Florida and it's November.
Buz McCall, owner of the No. 96 Caterpillar Chevrolet, and Bobby Hamilton, driver of the No. 4 Kodak Maxx Film Chevrolet, openly endorsed the addition on Thursday.
"Adding a market like Miami really enhances the series," said McCall. "There are thousands of race fans in South Florida and they have really been hungry for big time stock car racing. The Busch races there have drawn awfully well, and I know the newspapers and television stations in south Florida follow the sport pretty well."
McCall says even though the additional site on the schedule will mean more travel for some of the teams, the financial ends justify the logistical means.
"Markets like Miami and Vegas and southern California and Phoenix and Detroit and Philadelphia - those are markets that are important to the Caterpillars and Siemens - and that makes them the markets that are important to the race teams," he said. "Sure, it would be a whole lot cheaper to run 35 races right around the Charlotte area, and it would sure be a lot easier on the race teams. But I don't think we're going to be able to convince the big corporate sponsors how great an idea that is."
As a driver, Hamilton doesn't share the travel expenses that McCall must cover, but he does share McCall's support for the trip to Homestead. Even if it does claim another weekend on his schedule.
"Yeah, it's a busy schedule," he said. "But it's always been a busy schedule. A lot of these guys would be racing somewhere else if they weren't at a Winston Cup race anyway."
And a lot of those guys will be racing at Homestead with added incentive, according to Hamilton. Not just the Jeff Gordons and Mark Martins, either.
"Where they added it (Homestead) right at the end of the year, it could be a really good deal for some teams," he said. "If you're in the thick of the points championship, you're going to be pretty fired up no matter where the race is. If you're having a year that's not so great, you're going to look at it as an evening-up track since nobody has raced Winston Cup cars there before, and maybe that could be the race to kind of save your season. If you like seafood, then you're definitely going to be in heaven."
According to Hamilton, NASCAR may not be on Cloud Nine yet, but it is definitely ascending into the stratosphere.
"I can't see this schedule doing anything but growing the next few years," he said. "Look how far we've come in the past 10 years or so. Las Vegas, Sears Point, Texas, Phoenix ... that's some pretty big markets and some pretty big races. These kind of races help us. Adding Indianapolis did a lot for the sport, and it's one of our biggest races now. Texas, man, they put a couple hundred thousand people in that place! Hey, this sport is growing and NASCAR is smart to keep it growing."
Source: NASCAR Online