New Hampsire Notes / Dover Preview Kodak Team

Lord would like to continue celebration with win at Dover Kodak crewman Bobby Lord walked through the garage area at New Hampshire International Speedway last Sunday smoking a big cigar, celebrating the birth of his third son, Brandon Tyler...

Lord would like to continue celebration with win at Dover

Kodak crewman Bobby Lord walked through the garage area at New Hampshire International Speedway last Sunday smoking a big cigar, celebrating the birth of his third son, Brandon Tyler Lord.

Lord's wife delivered the baby just in time for him to make the trip north from Abingdon, Va., with the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team. Although he doesn't usually smoke, Lord decided to go along with tradition and buy a box of stogies for his friends.

"I didn't inhale," Lord said. "The thing was about a foot long, but I thought it might bring us good luck, so I smoked it.

"We were supposed to leave for the track a day early because of Hurricane Floyd. My wife was having contractions then. It ended up we didn't have to leave until the next day, so I got to be with her during the birth.

"He's my third son. My daughter, Shanna, is 12. I have a son named R.C. who's 4, and my two-year-old son is Dale Emerson. I've pretty much got a whole race team lined up. They're excited about what daddy does. Before I leave, they tell me to tell Bobby Hamilton to win."

Of course, Lord would like nothing better than to see Hamilton park the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Monte Carlo in victory lane, and he'd really like to be a part of it on Sunday at Dover Downs International Speedway because Lord grew up in nearby Milford, Del.

"I was born in Baltimore, but I grew up about 30 miles from Dover and most of my family still lives in Delaware," Lord said. "Dover is pretty special because I see everybody I used to go to school with and all my friends.

"I'd really like to win anywhere, but it'd be special at the home track in front of my family. I don't get to see my family that much, but I try to take my vacation at Christmas so I can spend time with them."

Lord works in the Morgan-McClure Motorsports engine room Monday through Thursday under the guidance of veteran motor man Runt Pittman in the cylinder head department. On weekends at the track, he carries tires and helps tire specialist Jimmy Bender in the pits.

Lord started racing dirt modifieds with his best friend Greg Cumberdale in 1989. Cumberdale drove, and Lord worked on the cars. Together they won two sprint car championships.

"I really owe a lot to Greg because he got me going in the sport," Lord said. "We traveled, but we mostly stayed on the east coast. That's really where I got it in my blood, but when I was younger, my father was into racing. We'd go to races together when I was seven or eight.

"There's a little place called Lincoln Speedway, right outside of Milford, and then they had another track in Georgetown, Del., that we went to. When Greg and I were growing up in high school together, Winston Cup is what we always wanted to do. I just got lucky and was able to get in first. Greg is still racing sprint cars, but I hope some day he gets a lucky break."

It took Lord a few years to get his foot in the door at Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but his determination eventually paid off.

"My wife's parents lived in Virginia, and she wanted to move to Virginia to be next to her parents," Lord said. "I really didn't want to. I was racing with Greg, but I decided I would. We were racing sprint cars in North Carolina, and her parents live right next to the Kodak shop (in Abingdon, Va.)

"We went there a couple of times to visit, and I kept thinking I'd never know unless I try. I told her dad I'd give it three or four years to try to get on with the Kodak team, and then if I didn't, I'd like to move back to Delaware. The Good Lord blessed me. I think the second year I was in Virginia, I was able to get on with Kodak.

"I actually wore the doorknob out. The lady got to know my first name. I started out three or four times a month, and I kept asking and begging and begging. They said they were building a new shop and they'd probably be hiring some people. I kept going and asking and asking. I was persistent. I spent a lot of money on resumes, but I was really lucky."

Lord says his ultimate goal in NASCAR Winston Cup racing is to become a crew chief, and Morgan-McClure Motorsports is providing him with the education necessary to achieve that goal.

"I really feel fortunate because I work at the shop during the week and I get to learn all the stuff it takes for the car to run," Lord said. "Working under Runt, I've learned a lot.

"Every day you learn something different, and everything changes in Winston Cup from day to day. Coming to the track every weekend helps, too. I'm really fortunate that (owner) Larry McClure has given me a chance to do both, be back in the engine room and come to the track on the weekends and see what it takes to get the car around the track."

The No. 4 Kodak Chevrolet has been getting around the track with the leaders the past three weeks. With finishes of seventh, seventh and 11th in the past three races, Hamilton and team have moved to 14th in the series standings and trail 12th-place Jeremy Mayfield by just 53 points.

Hamilton made a late-season charge in 1998 and ended up 10th in his first full season behind the wheel of the No. 4 Chevrolet.

"Bobby is really a smart driver," Lord said. "Our goal right now is trying to get in the top 10 in points. Bobby takes real good care of the car. Sometimes everybody gets caught up in something, but he's really doing a good job. It seems like he gets going in the second half of the season, and I'm tickled to death to work with Bobby.

"We really want to win a race before the season's over, and if I had it my way, we'd do it Sunday at Dover. That'd make it a perfect weekend for everybody."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jeremy Mayfield