BUSCH: Nashville: Bobby Hamilton Jr preview

Hamilton, Jr. returns home sweet home. Could music lessons be in his future? (Mooresville, NC, April 7, 2003) -- If there was one trophy that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. would like to get his hands on it would be the trophy from the place he calls home,...

Hamilton, Jr. returns home sweet home.
Could music lessons be in his future?

(Mooresville, NC, April 7, 2003) -- If there was one trophy that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. would like to get his hands on it would be the trophy from the place he calls home, the Nashville Superspeedway. The Gibson guitar custom-designed by Sam Bass is one of the most coveted trophies on the NASCAR Busch Series circuit. This weekend, Hamilton, Jr. will be the hometown favorite to claim the prize win when the NASCAR Busch Series lands in Nashville for the Pepsi 300 on Saturday, April 12, 2003.

Hamilton, Jr. has put a lot miles in at the three year old track he calls home. Aside from the three Busch Series events he has competed in, he has several test sessions under his belt including two 600-mile tests for Winston Cup car-owner Andy Petree. Hamilton, Jr.'s success there is reflective of his experience on the track. He posted consecutive third and second place finishes in both events at Nashville Speedway last year, not to mention finishing fourth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in a truck owned by father, Bobby Hamilton. The driver has led laps in all three of the NASCAR Busch Series events that have been run there.

"I really like the feel of the place and I don't just say that because it is my hometown track. It's kind of a combination between Las Vegas, California and Darlington. It is just my kind of track. It's fast and now that the surface is getting a little more worn there will be more side-by-side racing.

The fans here are great and I get a lot of support from them," added Hamilton, Jr. "You go to so many different places throughout the year where you are just a stranger, so it makes it pretty special to race at home with a lot of family and friends in the stands and the people that you grew up racing in front of. I am really looking forward to it. The fact that I can go home and sleep in my own bed is just an extra bonus."

Hamilton, Jr. has high hopes that this weekend will be a turning point for his team.

"We have had two very disappointing weekends in a row where accidents have taken us out of the race just a handful of laps into it. It's unfortunate for this team and it has hurt us in the points, but I expect to get things turned around this weekend. Knowing the success we had here last year is a confidence booster for all of us. I have put a lot of miles on this track, probably more than any of the other guys, so I think that gives us a good advantage."

Crew chief, Fred Wanke, is also looking forward to returning to the concrete surface of Nashville Superspeedway and to getting the team's season turned around.

"This is a first-rate facility," said Wanke. "It is probably my favorite of all the tracks we compete at. It's a place you have to have a good combination of horsepower and handling. The biggest factor here is getting the car to accelerate off the corner so that it utilizes every ounce of horsepower. It's extremely tough on the motor because the driver is wide open down the straightaway, slows down going into the corners, accelerates off the corner, then wide open again on the opposite straightaway. Hitting that combination better than anybody else is the difference between getting the trophy and going home empty handed.

This is the perfect place for this team to get the season turned around and now is the time," added Wanke. "We finished third and second here last year, so it's hard not to feel good about returning to a place where you have had such success. Bobby knows this race track and knows what he needs from the car to be successful here. It's our job to make sure he gets it. One thing is certain, I sure wouldn't mind seeing that trophy up close and personal. "

Asked what he would do with the one of a kind trophy should the stars align in his favor, Hamilton, Jr. smiled and responded "I would start taking guitar lessons tomorrow."

-trm/tmr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Andy Petree