Hamilton Jr. looks to gain experience By Dave Rodman HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 27, 1998) Bobby Hamilton Jr. is looking to take a crash course in NASCAR stock car racing -- without the accident -- while leaning heavily on the experience of his ...
Hamilton Jr. looks to gain experience By Dave Rodman
HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 27, 1998) Bobby Hamilton Jr. is looking to take a crash course in NASCAR stock car racing -- without the accident -- while leaning heavily on the experience of his father, NASCAR Winston Cup driver Bobby Hamilton. With his father's blessing and hands-on guidance, Bobby Jr. plans to run the last three races this season in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division, along with the season finale of the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where both Hamiltons tested on Tuesday. "He's down here testing now, in an ARCA and a Busch car, and his speeds have been real impressive," the elder Hamilton said in a NASCAR Online chat session Tuesday while taking a break during a in testing for Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Hamilton said his 21-year-old son would contest this weekend's ACDelco 200 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, the Nov. 7 Stihl 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the season finale Jiffy Lube Miami 300 at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in South Florida. In addition, he said Hamilton Jr. would attempt to qualify for the ARCA finale on Nov. 6 at AMS. "We're real close to signing a full Busch Series program for 1999," Hamilton said. "It would be with Sadler Brothers Racing out of Nashville, which would give me a chance to overlook it and help out." Bobby Hamilton, who lives with his family in Mount Juliet, just outside of Nashville, Tenn., was instrumental in getting Bobby Jr. hooked up with Earl and Check Sadler, longtime NASCAR and ARCA car owners. Young Hamilton attempted to make his NBS debut for the Sadlers at Richmond International Raceway in September and was the next car in line to make the race on time. But since the Sadlers were not eligible for a provisional, they had to go home. Hamilton, who won his third NASCAR Winston Cup Series race earlier this season at Martinsville, Va., said his son had impressed not only him, but others, with his precocious start in heavy stock cars. "Well, we had him run some in the Slim Jim All Pro Series to let him get a chance to run in tight traffic on short tracks," Hamilton said of his son's seven outings in the NASCAR Touring Division. "But, we didn't want him to get too much in the habit of running on bias ply tires." Although the NASCAR Touring Division mainly runs on bias ply rubber, the upper levels of NASCAR's touring series use radial tires. While some drivers struggle with the transition, Hamilton Jr. has thrived on it. In his ARCA debut, at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, he qualified in the top-10 and finished in the top-five in a former Petty Enterprises Pontiac. He has top-five finishes in three of his four ARCA starts. "We absolutely have no idea where that came from," the proud father said. "It totally caught everyone off guard..." The youngster's quick take on what's necessary to go fast in a heavy car on a big race track has propelled him to the point where he's on the verge of stepping up to the second-highest series in NASCAR. "The speeds don't seem to bother him at all and he's got a good feel for the cars on radials," Hamilton said. "To tell you the truth, I was terribly, terribly concerned about him (driving on superspeedways)... But it really went well and he is able to give us good feedback on what the car is doing and what it needs. With the All Pro car he couldn't tell us nothing!" Hamilton said his son unloaded at Atlanta for his most recent test at a 31.20 lap time around the 1.54-mile, high-speed oval. He said the fastest NASCAR Busch Series cars were running in the 30.50 range while most drivers came out in the 32.90-33-second range. "At Talladega and Charlotte it was really the same thing," Hamilton said of other ARCA venues visited by Bobby Jr. For his season-ending races, Hamilton said his son would drive a Pontiac in his NBS attempts and a Chevrolet in the ARCA event. Next season the Sadlers will run Chevrolets in the NASCAR Busch Series, he said.
Source: NASCAR Online