DARLINGTON, S.C., (September 2, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Chevrolet ran well throughout the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway today and completed all 367 laps to finish 15th. With the weather a threat all day, the ...
DARLINGTON, S.C., (September 2, 2001) - Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Chevrolet ran well throughout the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway today and completed all 367 laps to finish 15th.
With the weather a threat all day, the Square D team had to contend with changing track conditions as heavy cloud cover occasionally gave way to a breakthrough of the sun. Despite these changes, the No. 55 Square D Racing pit crew made only slight chassis adjustments. Hamilton had a right front tire going down early in the race but a yellow flag came out at the right moment allowing him to maintain his position on the track.
The Square D team continued to have a strong car as the race went on. When Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge would ask his driver how the car was handling Hamilton would give the simple response, "It's good."
The anxiety wrought by the threat of rain affected many of the teams. Some tension from last weekend's close-quarters race at Bristol also seemed to spill over onto NASCAR's oldest superspeedway, also known as "The Track Too Tough To Tame." There were ten caution periods due to accidents. Hamilton spent much of the afternoon avoiding crashes.
A red flag flew following a late-race crash involving the No. 33 Andy Petree-owned car driven by Joe Nemechek and three other cars.
When the race resumed on lap 363, Hamilton was running 12th with only four laps to go. But heading to the white flag, the No. 55 Chevy had another right front tire going down. But Hamilton stayed out. The yellow flag came out with the white flag after yet another incident.
The storm clouds let go immediately after Ward Burton took the checkered flag to win the NASCAR classic. However, the cool rain did nothing to calm the tempers that flared over the controversial red flag and the unofficial results. It was some time before the final results were posted and Bobby Hamilton and the No. 55 Square D Racing team were listed as the 15th place finishers.
"We had a good car all day," Hamilton said following the race. "We did a good job of staying out of trouble and‘ The Lady In Black' didn't get us either, so it was a successful weekend."
Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Bill Elliott finished second through fifth respectively.