This Week in Ford Racing Bobby Hamilton Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, won at Phoenix International Raceway in the fall of 2003. He talks about the combination of talent and equipment needed to win at the...
This Week in Ford Racing
Bobby Hamilton Jr., driver of the No. 25 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, won at Phoenix International Raceway in the fall of 2003. He talks about the combination of talent and equipment needed to win at the one-mile flat track.
YOU'VE WON AT PHOENIX BEFORE; CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING THERE? "It's a flat track. It reminds you of a short track but a fast flat track. But the car has got to be perfect in every aspect as far you've got to have a ton of motor to pull you up out of the corners. You've got to have great turning ability through the center of that place because they are so tight. Pit stops have got to be perfect. When we won that race, that's what helped us, we were able to come out first or second every time. You've got to have a perfect day to win there. If you don't and you have any of those variables missing, it shows a huge amount. It is just a huge, huge short track. That's how you've got to look at it."
DO YOU RACE IT LIKE A SHORT TRACK OR FLAT TRACK? "You race it like a short track because you've just got to hustle the car. It varies; for instance, it hasn't been a secret that I've complained about some of the motor stuff in the past as far as the torque off the corner. It will really be big there. A lot of those guys have got a lot of torque. You'll see guys really run strong there. And that's what you need at a short track. You get in the corners, you get way on the brakes, you go way down, you're up out of the hole, which is far up out of the corner. You've got to have that power. It's the same as you do as a Martinsville or South Boston or anywhere. It's a really fast short track. It's got characteristics of Martinsville getting into turn one, you've got to get in there, get on the brakes and get off of them as soon as you can to roll. You've got long straightaways to get the speed. It's like the New Hampshire turn in three and four and a Martinsville in turns one and two. You've got long straightaway power like New Hampshire and places like that. You get every aspect of it, so that's why it's so hard. That's why when people get out and win there, you've got to feel proud because it took a lot to make that race car work."
DOES THE TRACK CHANGE A LOT FROM THE SPRING RACE TO THE FALL RACE? "No, every time we've been there, it's been about the same stuff as far as what to expect and what the car is going to do. Whatever the pavement they use up there, it doesn't age. It's really weird because it's all the same characteristics as far as it was the very first time I was there. It's very predictable, kind of like Texas or Atlanta. You know within so many laps you're going to lose grip everywhere. You've got to search around for grip. You've got to make the front turn and not turn the car with the back and stuff like that. It's a good place to show how strong your team is."
HOW DO YOU SET THE CAR FOR A PLACE THAT HAS THREE DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTICS AS YOU'VE EXPLAINED IT? "That's what the magical part is. When you do get it, it's your day. And it's going to take a whole lot to beat you. Usually, on average, you're really good at this section and off at that section. But the years that we ran up front and led laps and won races, we were incredible at both sides and how we did it, if we knew that, we'd do it again. It's just when you hit it, it's your day. For instance, if I'm really good in turns one and two, that's where I try to make all my passes and just survive in turns three and four. It's one of those race tracks."
-credit: ford racing