BUSCH: Las Vegas: This Week in Ford Racing

This Week in Ford Racing March 2, 2004 NASCAR Busch Series Bobby Hamilton, Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Taurus, currently sits seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, posting two top-15 finishes in the first two races of the...

This Week in Ford Racing
March 2, 2004

NASCAR Busch Series

Bobby Hamilton, Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Taurus, currently sits seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, posting two top-15 finishes in the first two races of the season. Hamilton, the second-generation racer from Tennessee, spoke about the season to date.

BOBBY HAMILTON , JR.-25-Team Marines Ford Taurus

HAS THE START OF THE SEASON MET YOUR EXPECTATIONS? "We've had two races and haven't won, and we're all about winning, but we can't be too greedy because we're in the championship picture at the start of the season. In all reality, you have to look at points, but we didn't get to where we were last year looking at points. We were just all out and whatever happened, happened. How can you go back and change that? We can't because the way we approached the end of the year was just to go out and win the race, period. If we finished third, we went back and said, 'Why couldn't we have won the race? What put us off?' You have to go back in there with that same mentality and that's what we're doing."

YOU CREDIT HAROLD HOLLY FOR A LOT OF THE SUCCESS YOU HAD TOWARDS THE END OF LAST SEASON. IS THERE STILL ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND HIM FOR SOME TIME? "The difference in crew chief. I tell people all the time that if you put the worst driver in the best equipment, he's going to shine at some time or another. I've been around enough of the tracks long enough to know what I need to do, and when you get the right equipment, it's easy. It's the same stuff I was doing three or four years ago, but nobody noticed, but now I get into equipment that will go and run, and you're pretty quick every week. Like I said, Harold is so smart just on common sense things that we forget, and he just kinda keeps that ball rolling for you. He had that same momentum with (Jeff) Green when he was winning all the races, so there's no reason to think that we peaked out."

DO YOU EXPECT THAT THIS IS YOUR FINAL SEASON IN THE BUSCH SERIES BEFORE MOVING TO NEXTEL CUP? "I haven't won a championship yet. I guess that's really the bad thing about winning four races and having the most top-10s and tied for the most top-fives, there is so much more we can do. Now we know we can do it, so there's no satisfaction of having just four wins. Now we know we can do four or so at the end of the season, so why can't we do four at the beginning? You just keep building yourself up, and like I said, until you get to a point where you've won four or five championships and all of the races, then it's like, 'Well, we've done all we can do here.' But, right now there is still work to be done."

IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEEL IN TERMS OF HANDLING THIS YEAR WITH THE TIRES? "Just more stability. The race car is in the race track. I know a lot of it is tire, but we got great numbers from wind tunnel stuff. We've got a whole lot better race cars than we had last year, and we had great race cars last year. The tires really puts it back in the driver's hands where he has a lot more comfortability in the race car as far as the grip, so it will be better. It's going to put it in the crew chief's hands for more handling and whoever figures that out first is going to win the majority of the races. It goes back to the way it was 10 years ago, kinda like Late Model tires."

THERE ARE CURRENTLY FOUR NEXTEL CUP DRIVERS IN THE TOP SIX IN THE BUSCH SERIES POINT STANDINGS. IS IT A CONCERN TO YOU THAT CUP DRIVERS TYPICALLY RUN BOTH SERIES AT THE START OF THE SEASON? "There's not a lot you can say. I thought this was the Busch Series and that over there was the NEXTEL Cup Series. I'm not concerned seeing them up in the standings right now because they're not going to win the championship. We're in this to win the championship, and the money for us is secondary."

DOES NASCAR NEED TO ADDRESS THE FACT MORE AND MORE CUP DRIVERS ARE COMPETING IN THE BUSCH SERIES? "We're quickly getting to that point because it's no longer a secret that you can make a little bit of money over here. Our team made $1.6 million last year after the points fund was awarded. That's a pretty good deal through the year, and when you look at it compared to two years ago, it's huge, and every year it grows. Eventually they're going to have to look at it; otherwise you'll have 30 Cup teams running in the Busch Series. We have to be careful because a lot of the fans are coming to see those guys race, but we just need to make sure we have better equipment to not only keep up with those guys, but to beat them. You don't hear a lot when the Busch regulars start winning races over the Cup guys, but that does happens quite a bit every year."

TEAM RENSI IS NOT ASSOCIATED WITH A WINSTON CUP OPERATION, BUT IT HAS BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ONE-CAR BUSCH SERIES OPERATION. "The cool thing is that a lot of people forget that we're not associated with any of them and we can outrun them the majority of the time. To me, that's a compliment to what we've built over here. What we really tried to do over the off-season was make the team better. If we were lacking in any kind of position as far as at the shop, we tried to fill the hole, but it was all so pumped and good that we didn't want to fool with too many. Everybody is happy and everybody is ready to win races and if you've got that, 50 percent of your problems are already solved. You just have to do your deal and pick the people you want to help because they help you, and go from there."

-ford racing-

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Drivers Bobby Hamilton