Martinsville Speedway Test Session Was A Must For Hamilton Jr. MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 22, 2005) - Back in the winter, during the narrow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup offseason, Bobby Hamilton Jr. was asked to pick out a handful of tracks where he would...
Martinsville Speedway Test Session Was A Must For Hamilton Jr.
MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 22, 2005) - Back in the winter, during the narrow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup offseason, Bobby Hamilton Jr. was asked to pick out a handful of tracks where he would like to test. Martinsville Speedway was at the top of that list.
And Tuesday there Hamilton was, logging lap after lap around the .526-mile oval in the primer gray Tide Monte Carlo preparing for the April 10th Advance Auto Parts 500.
"At the beginning of the year the team asked me where I wanted to go test and this was one of the places," Hamilton said during his team's lunch break Tuesday. "There were only two tracks on the circuit where I hadn't run a full race and this was one of them."
Hamilton actually got seat time last fall in the SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville shortly after he had moved behind the wheel of Cal Wells' Chevy. But he wound up in the middle of a huge wreck early in the race and spent the rest of the day limping to a 36th-place finish.
"I got caught up in the middle of D.J.'s (Dale Jarrett) stuff. I was right in the middle of that and just sort of rode around the rest of the day. That's another reason we came today * to get some laps," said Hamilton.
"Some weird stuff is going on the way the tires are and everything. Some of the stuff that wasn't supposed to work is starting to work. That's what we're here for. We want to learn."
Hamilton's was the only NEXTEL Cup team testing at Martinsville Tuesday, joining almost a half-dozen NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams. But even without any Cup veterans to follow, Hamilton said he made tremendous progress.
"The car is driving great. It's responding and here at this place, what we learned the last time is that it's really hard to get the car to respond to anything. It's been well worth the trip," said Hamilton.
Hamilton enters this off weekend 30th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points. But that is a misleading stat. Last weekend he qualified second at Atlanta and the week before he finished just outside the top 10.
"Daytona was a throwaway for us. It was just horrible," Hamilton said, recounting the start of the season. "California was a 20th. Vegas was an 11th. At Atlanta I was running in the top 10 and blew a right front tire.
"Turning everything around is what we wanted to do and we've started to do that. The finishes are not where we want them to be, but it's not because the team is not performing. It's just little odds and ends. If we can get them hammered out, I think we can be a top 15 team every week."
Hamilton won't be back for a second day of testing on Wednesday, but several NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers will be testing, including Ricky Craven, Todd Kluever and Justin Allgaier, all coming back for a second day, and Bill Lester, Shieage Hattori, Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner and Brandon Whitt will join them.
Because of the possibility of rain, Darrell Waltrip, David Reutimann and Robert Huffman have moved their Truck Series tests to Thursday, joining David Starr, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Tam Topin, Alex Yontz, Bill Lester, Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner, Todd Bodine, Steve Park and Brendan Gaughan.
Tickets for both the Advance Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, April 10, and the Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, on Saturday, April 9, may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets for both events also may be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Tickets for Jackson Hewitt Pole Day on April 8 are $15 and will be on sale the day of the event.
Ticket prices for the Advance Auto Parts 500 range from $40 to $75. Tickets for the Kroger 250 are $35. Tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $5.
Anyone buying an Advance Auto Parts 500 ticket between now and April 1 can receive $5 off the purchase of a Kroger 250 ticket. Children's truck tickets are discounted $1 when bought with an Advance Auto Parts 500 ticket.
The Kroger 250 is scheduled for April 9 and the Advance Auto Parts 500 on April 10.