Pocono Bobby Hamilton Preview

Kodak team shooting for another top-10 performance at Pocono Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team finished 10th five weeks ago at Pocono Raceway and will be shooting for another strong performance in Sunday's ...

Kodak team shooting for another top-10 performance at Pocono

Bobby Hamilton and the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Racing Team finished 10th five weeks ago at Pocono Raceway and will be shooting for another strong performance in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at the 2.5-mile triangular track. Standing 14th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings, just 152 points out of 10th place, Hamilton will make his 251st career start on Sunday and will be looking for his fourth career triumph. The 42-year-old veteran driver from Nashville, Tenn., ran with the leaders most of the day in the Pocono 500, and team owner Larry McClure expects more of the same this time around. "We had a good race car, and Bobby was pumped up about it," McClure said. "The car drove real good. We learned some things that we can apply this time that will put us in a better position to run up front. "You never know what you're going to get at Pocono. You might get rain one time and the next time it might feel like snow. It's really unpredictable because it's right there on top of the mountain. It's a pretty place, and I think it's a pretty exciting race. "You can pass just about anywhere. There's usually people running in a pack. You might have six or eight cars leading and then you've got 20 running right there together. It's a different kind of race track." It's different because of three distinctly different turns instead of four similar corners like drivers face at most tracks on the Winston Cup circuit. "You usually get through one or two of the turns better than the others, but to win up there you've got to be pretty good through all three," McClure said. "That race track is really demanding because you have to be real careful and not put too much gear in the car and blow up your engine. It's real demanding on engines. "We shift up there. You run an overdrive transmission. Some people shift more than others, so you've got to be real careful. If you're not aggressive enough, you're not going to be good enough to win. If you're overly aggressive, you're going to have trouble. "From time to time, we've seen people have brake problems up there. Going into one, you've got to gear down and get on the brakes real hard and let the car roll, then gear down and go back into direct drive and then run down that Long Pond. If you've got a low enough gear, you can shift into overdrive again. Then you go through that tunnel turn, you've got to shift again. Then you can leave it in direct drive until you come off of three. Then you shift about halfway down the front straightaway. "It's different. You've got to handle good, you've got to brake good and your transmission has got to be good. The driver keeps busy even though it's a long race track. It's a track where drafting is effective. It's got a lot of everything. It's real similar to Indy." And the Morgan-McClure team just completed a two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7. "We were trying to get the car to run fast down the straightaways and handle well in the corners at Indy," McClure said. "All the times were real close. We got ready to make a qualifying run on Tuesday afternoon and it started raining. We didn't get to run because they closed the track. "We weren't as fast as the Fords when they tested up there, but it was 98-100 degrees when we were there, and that was a lot hotter than when the Fords tested. "We had a good test and learned a lot. We're going back to the same combination we used three years ago. We kind of got away from it with our shock package, but we're going to zero in on it again. Mark Prater has been working hard with the shocks, and we're putting more and more emphasis on our shock package." In other news regarding the Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc., team, more than 8,000 people attended last weekend's open house at the team's state-of-the-art shop in Abingdon, Va. McClure called it a "tremendous success." "We had people come from all over the country," McClure said. "They signed in from Wisconsin, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Kentucky, and we had a lot of our local people come out, too. "Some people waited for more than an hour for Bobby's autograph, and our pit crew put on seven pit stop exhibitions. Everyone loved that. We had food for everyone, and they even put the wrappers and cups in the trash cans. I guess they saw how clean the place was and wanted to keep it that way. "I think everyone had a great time. I know I did."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton