CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 10, 2001) - This weekend's inaugural Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joilet, Ill. will be in Square D's back yard. Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Racing Team are among the few teams that are familiar with the new...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (July 10, 2001) - This weekend's inaugural Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joilet, Ill. will be in Square D's back yard. Bobby Hamilton and the Square D Racing Team are among the few teams that are familiar with the new 1.5-mile tri-oval in Chicago.
"It is a one groove racetrack right now," Hamilton said. "It's going to be an extremely fast track this weekend. When other circuits run there and as people continue to test there, it will get an upper groove. At the start of this race, all the teams will race in one groove and if they get out of that one particular line, then they'll be stuck there. As the race continues it might get an upper groove worn in a little which could be beneficial for us to move into if it's fast. But that will have to work itself in with the tire wear as the rubber builds up on the track.
"I don't see tires being a big factor there because Goodyear has put out a really hard tire this year," Hamilton continued. "I think you could run two fuel loads before ever changing tires. Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) is good at pit strategy, so I look for him to come up with some scenario to make pit strategy work in our favor.
"Chicago seems to be what I would call a `cookie cut racetrack.' "I mean that it's so similar to Vegas or Charlotte," Hamilton explained. "However, this track is more fan friendly than the others. The biggest thing that I saw there was that you can see everywhere on the racetrack from the grandstands or on top of the hauler. At other places you can't see anything on top of the hauler."
Among the thousands of new fans that will be traveling to the event at Chicagoland, two contest winners will make their trek to the speedway anticipating a personal meet-and-greet with Bobby Hamilton. This weekend marks the end of a promotion for Square D employees in the Palatine, Ill. corporate office. The challenge to nickname the No. 55 Chevy. After mulling over many different entries, the Square D Pit Crew chose "Sweetness," submitted by Vicki Repsholdt and Cindy Faraci.
These women compare driver Bobby Hamilton with sports icon Walter Payton, NFL's all-time leading rusher and former Chicago Bears running back. Similar to the late Payton's rushing style, Hamilton rushed to take the checkered flag in Talladega (Ala.) in April when he came from mid-pack with only 15 laps to go, and grabbed the checkered flag on the final lap.
"The team picked this nickname because of the confidence we have in Hamilton," said Elledge, who will be celebrating his birthday during the inaugural Tropicana 400 event weekend. "He has given this team a new sense of pride in our performance so far this season. We look forward to making many more milestones with the Square D Racing Team."