BUSCH: Daytona II: Bobby Hamilton Jr preview

Winning on July 4th would be extra special for Team Marines driver DAYTONA BEACH, FL - (July 1, 2003) --Since the end of combat operations, 43,000 Marines have returned home from participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Places like Camp ...

Winning on July 4th would be extra special for Team Marines driver

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - (July 1, 2003) --Since the end of combat operations, 43,000 Marines have returned home from participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Places like Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Cherry Point Air Station, North Carolina, Camp Pendleton, California, Miramar Air Station, California have all been the sights of homecoming parades and celebrations. Bobby Hamilton Jr., the driver of the Team Marines Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series hopes to give all Marines across the world another reason to celebrate on Friday night. Hamilton Jr. will battle 42 other cars in the Winn Dixie 250 on July 4th as he attempts to win his second Busch Series race of the 2003 season.

"Any win is special, but if we could win for all the Marines across the world on July 4th, it would make for an incredible celebration," Hamilton Jr. said. "Our Team Rensi Motorsports team want to give thanks to all for serving our country and protecting our freedom, we want to thank them with a win on Friday night."

In order to achieve that goal, Hamilton Jr. will have to rely on a superfast racecar built by crew chief Harold Holly and the Team Marines Racing Team as well as a large amount of luck in steering clear of any wrecks.

"This race is all about missing the big accident, what happens here is out of your control, so you try to either stay in the lead or away from all the trouble," Hamilton Jr. said. "We have two different strategies for Friday night that will be dictated by how we qualify on Thursday. Hopefully we can qualify up front and stay ahead of the big accidents."

Hamilton Jr. will have one key partner in steering clear of the accidents, his spotter Ronnie Russell. The Team Rensi Motorsports Team Manager also serves as the spotter for Hamilton Jr. Russell has been spotting for over 20 years, beginning his career with seven-time Winston Cup Champion, Richard Petty.

"At Daytona, the cars can look like 1/64 scale toy cars on the backstretch, so I use binoculars for about 80% of the track," Russell said. "Daytona and Talladega are my least favorite places to spot because your driver is at the mercy of every other car. The driver must trust his spotter and communicate the best line for the driver as well as anticipate ahead of time what's going to happen."

If all goes according to plan, Hamilton Jr. should be among the favorites to claim the checkered flag on Friday night. If he does manage to win, you can count on this win being dedicated to the men and women that serve in the United States Marine Corps.

TEAM MARINES TRACK NOTES

* Since being named crew chief for Bobby Hamilton Jr. four races ago, Harold Holly has led the team to finishes of sixth, fifth, first and tenth. The worst Hamilton Jr. has qualified in those four races is 11th in Nashville and that was based on owner's points when qualifying was rained out.

* Hamilton Jr. managed to steer clear of accidents in the season opening race in Daytona Beach. He finished seventh after qualifying 15th. The finish was his first career top ten at the track.

* In addition to the 43,000 Marines that have returned home from Iraq, 25,000 Marines are still serving our country in Iraq. Another 3,000 Marines are still serving in Afghanistan, fighting terrorism and assisting people of Afghanistan.

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Bobby Hamilton Jr. , Richard Petty