Long Pond: Bobby Hamilton Jr. preview

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 5, 2002) -- As the Schneider Electric Racing Team rolls into its 13th race of the season, the team is faced with a flat track, a focus of improvement from last year. But this year it seems less daunting. Coming off a strong...

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 5, 2002) -- As the Schneider Electric Racing Team rolls into its 13th race of the season, the team is faced with a flat track, a focus of improvement from last year. But this year it seems less daunting. Coming off a strong top-10 finish in Dover, driver Bobby Hamilton and his crew are trying hard to get back on track. While the team tested a road course on Tuesday, the guys in the shop polished up the aerodynamic package on the No. 55 Chevy, gearing up for this weekend's Pocono 500.

By this time last season, the team had logged one win and six top-10 finishes. But this year the team is still working to improve on its best finish of ninth at both Rockingham and Dover. However Hamilton and crew chief Jimmy Elledge remain optimistic. The duo reflects on some of the things they are working on in efforts to return the No. 55 Chevy to victory lane again.

Bobby, what do you think this season has been like so far for you as a driver?

"It's been challenging for sure. We started off this year with a new crew chief and a new team, which forced us to adjust to working with different perspectives. Whereas with the program we had last year, we had already been through that learning curve. But changes are sometimes good, so we gave it a chance. I liked working with Charley (Pressley) and thought he had some good ideas, but at the same time Jimmy knows what he's doing with race cars too. And with every change you won't see a difference overnight. These things take time. It's hard to start a year off with new people and be on top of your game. People have to gel and get to know each other a little before they know each other's little quirks. Consistency is the key in order for us to get back in the game. I am driving these cars as hard as I can week in and week out. And this crew is working as hard as they can to get us back up where we need to be. We still have some things to work on, but we're getting there. It just takes setting goals and really going for them. You know it's not about me -- it's about us. So if we keep sticking together, we'll get a win before too long."

Jimmy, what do you think about things the team can improve on this season?

"It was no secret last year that we needed some help on flat tracks. We tested and tried to get some notes to go on for our team, but still struggled. There are some areas that we can improve on, and we're aware of them. This year we found some aero (dynamic) changes in the wind tunnel that we needed to fix for race tracks like Pocono. So we went back to the drawing board. The fab shop worked on changing our front ends around. The engine shop is working hard to find more horsepower. Basically we're doing a lot of little things here and there that we hope will make a difference. We're really trying to turn this program around. When I came back to APR this year, I saw some wrecked race cars -- which was a different ballgame from what we had in the shop last year. But I saw a team that was willing and still had this fire under them that we needed to get the job done."

-ser/apr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton Jr.