Rockingham II: Bobby Hamilton preview

Bobby Hamilton and his crew go trick or treating. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 30, 2002) -- One Halloween Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton and his crew at Andy Petree Racing went out to trick-or-treat at North Carolina Speedway.  Hamilton, who...

Bobby Hamilton and his crew go trick or treating.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 30, 2002) -- One Halloween Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton and his crew at Andy Petree Racing went out to trick-or-treat at North Carolina Speedway.  Hamilton, who has seven top-10 finishes including one win in the last 11 races at the Rock, wore his Superman costume.  The crew members dressed up like his high-powered Transformers.  The Transformers brought along the No. 55 Chevrolet, which was black, intimidating and no stranger to victory lane (similar to that of the Batmobile).  But while they were visiting motorhome to motorhome to get candy, the members realized there was a more haunting prospect at Rockingham -- a ghost in the shape of a popcorn trophy.    

As the Transformers set out to conquer their biggest challenge yet -- a victory in the Pop Secret 400 -- they learned how to use their expertise to dominate the race.  Superman used his previous knowledge of victory lane to help out, while head Transformer Jimmy Elledge used his short-track set ups to make the Chevy go as fast as the Batmobile.  The crew members transformed into any tool that was necessary to crank out pit stops less than 14 seconds.  Spiderman Andy Petree spotted from the roof top in case he needed to spin a web to slide down the side of the suites and help.  Now you ask, did the team ever find the ghost of popcorn?  Well my friend, that will be determined this Sunday at the Rock.

Bobby, is there a special secret that makes this car run so well in Rockingham?

"There isn't a particular secret, but it has the best combination for Rockingham.  The car just hugs the race track and is really smooth in the corner.  I can't tell you why it does better than some of the other ones we have in the shop, but it just does.  There are certain cars that do better at one track or another and this one does best in Rockingham. 

"We were thinking that if the car ran well last weekend in Atlanta, we would race that one in the last four events.  But we think we need to do some more work to that particular car before we take it back to a track.  This car is a proven winner and runs well at the Rock.  And since we are taking it, we will have more time in the shop to get the other car ready for Phoenix.  We need a win in these last three races, so we have to pull out all the stops we can to help us get there."

How does your team's history in Rockingham help you there?

"Jimmy and APR can build a car that can out run anyone on a short track.  Their knowledge of those tracks is unbelievable.  I learn a lot from them, but at the same time that is how I got my roots in this sport also.  It's like going back in time when we race at these types of tracks.  You find that the simple things, little adjustments here and there, are what make the biggest difference in the setup at Rockingham. 

"I can remember when Joe (Nemechek, previous APR teammate) won there with this car (in 2001).  I watched him run through traffic on the race track like they were sitting still.  It was cool to watch.  I remember that when the season was over and we decided that we would scale back to a one-car team, I begged for this car.  And it proved me right this spring when we finished ninth.

"Andy is going to be up on the spotter's stand telling me where and when I can make a move.  And Jimmy is going to be on the pit box making all the calls that we need from down below.  So I think this weekend will be a good chance for us to redeem ourselves." 

-ser-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Andy Petree