Winston: Bobby Hamilton preview

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 14, 2002) -- Breaking out of the normal racing routine is rare for drivers in the Winston Cup Series. But Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton had a unique opportunity to do so last week. He starred in a music video for ...

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 14, 2002) -- Breaking out of the normal racing routine is rare for drivers in the Winston Cup Series. But Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton had a unique opportunity to do so last week. He starred in a music video for country music singer Jo Dee Messina's song "Dare to Dream." And before Hamilton left the video shoot at Nashville Fairgrounds, he left his signature -- several doughnut marks and two parallel streaks of burnt Goodyear rubber down the front straight away.

Hamilton is ready to break the barriers once again for this weekend's The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In this "Survival of the Fastest" race, 27 winning drivers will run all out for big money. Hamilton, who earned his spot by winning the Talladega 500 in 2001, talks about how the new format will lead to action-packed racing.

This year The Winston is broken down into three segments. The first is 40 laps with a mandatory pit stop. The top 20 finishers then advance to the next 30-lap segment. The top 10 finishers there will battle in the final 20-lap shootout. What do you think?

It's going to be good racing for sure. What you'll have is a bunch of big-name drivers out there going for big money. You know what happens when those dollar signs are placed in front of these people --they'll do what it takes to get it, me included. The new format might lend itself for a bunch of torn up race cars, but you'll see some of the best racing you've seen all year.

Teams have used The Winston as an unofficial test session for the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend. Will you be doing that this year?

Oh yeah. Everyone out there is doing it. We tested there last week and decided on an older car that we raced last year in Texas. Our other option was a newer car, but it didn't seem to run as fast as this one does. We have a history with this car on intermediate tracks and feel it's a better option. If it doesn't run well in The Winston, we'll rethink our strategy for the 600.

Filming a music video with Jo Dee Messina stemmed from a one-race deal planned for Chicago later this year. What was your take on meeting the star and filming the video with her?

I had a good time doing it. The video shows a day in racing from the beginning all the way to victory lane at the end. There were several local teams there and we got a chance to do some high speed racing on the track. But the best part is that I got to meet Jo Dee and get a chance to know her before she comes to the race in Chicago. I've always enjoyed her high energy and music. Filming it gave Square D a chance to get some extra publicity and it gave us a chance to do something out of the ordinary. I enjoyed going back to the track where it all began for me. As I stood in the stands watching all the local teams prepare for the video, it brought back a lot of the racing memories I had at that track. Sometimes it's fun to jump out of the boundaries and do something different.

-ser-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Hamilton