Richmond Bobby Hamilton Preview

Hamilton ready for another rally under the lights at Richmond Thirteen has been an unlucky number for Kodak MAX Film driver Bobby Hamilton this year, but the 42-year-old Nashville, Tenn., native hopes to have some...

Hamilton ready for another rally under the lights at Richmond

Thirteen has been an unlucky number for Kodak MAX Film driver Bobby Hamilton this year, but the 42-year-old Nashville, Tenn., native hopes to have some other numbers working in his favor during the final 10 races of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season. In 1998, his first season behind the wheel of the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Monte Carlo, Hamilton rallied in the last nine races to score five top-10 finishes and move to 10th in the final point standings. After 24 events this season, Hamilton stands 15th in the standings and hasn't been higher than 13th all year. When Hamilton hits the No. 13 position, rotten luck follows. The Morgan-McClure team moved to 15th in the standings after a seventh-place run in last Sunday's rain-shortened Pepsi Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Hamilton qualified fifth at Darlington, his best starting spot of the season, and ran with the leaders most of the afternoon. He finished seventh earlier this season at Darlington, and he'll be smiling all the way to Richmond for Saturday night's Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400. In his past two starts at Richmond, Hamilton has finished sixth and fourth behind the wheel of the No. 4 Kodak Monte Carlo. He qualified sixth and finished sixth last September at Richmond to begin his charge back to the top 10. His fourth-place run at Richmond in May has been his best finish this season, and he's itching to scratch his way to a better finish under the lights at the .750-mile D-shaped track Saturday night. "Richmond's probably one of my best race tracks," Hamilton said. "I love to race there, but I don't care a lot about flat track stuff. I think I do well on the flat tracks because we run the type chassis I like at those places. I think my chances of winning there are as good as anybody's." Hamilton has had a lot of input recently on the setups of the No. 4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo. The team went back to basics, and the basics began paying off at Darlington. Hamilton recorded his sixth top-10 finish of the season and jumped two positions on the points ladder. He's now just 29 points behind 14th-place John Andretti and 48 points behind 13th-place Ken Schrader. So is Hamilton apprehensive about the prospects of moving up to 13th again? "Maybe we can inch our way up to 14th with a good run at Richmond and then just jump to 12th the next week at New Hampshire," Hamilton said. "It really doesn't matter to me, but it seems like it's hard to get past 13th. "We're 273 points out of 10th, and we've got 10 races to get there, so that's what we're going to focus on. Some real good drivers are between us and 10th place, and they're going to be trying to hold on to their spots. Everybody wants to go on the stage in New York at the end of the season, but only 10 get to do it, so that's what we're shooting for right now. "Plus, we want to win a race. I think we've got a good chance to win at Richmond. Our Richmond car is a really good car. We're going to test to get ready for the race, and I think we'll have our act together by the time we get there. It's nice to be fast right off the truck, and that's the way we've been the last couple of weeks." Hamilton, along with crew members Robert Larkins and Steve Gray, have been working together on chassis setups recently. Hamilton goes to the Morgan-McClure Motorsports shop in Abingdon, Va., on Monday and helps work on the cars for the upcoming race. "We decided three weeks ago that the three of us were going to make the calls." Hamilton said. "If I end up with something different than everybody else has got and it's good for me, then that's what we're running. That's just the way we're going to tackle it. "I go to the shop the first of the week and we put a game plan together. We get the stuff done, and we're fast off the truck every week now. I'm confident, and that's what you've got to do. You've got to be able to hammer that thing the first lap, and we can do that now."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers John Andretti , Bobby Hamilton , Ken Schrader