Josh Hamner Earns First Career Pole In NASCAR Southeast Series Youngster Collects Two Top-11s After Doubleheader Weekend CHELSEA, AL (October 18, 2005) -- Sunday wasn't 18-year-old Josh Hamner's NASCAR Southeast Sereis debut. That actually came...
Josh Hamner Earns First Career Pole In NASCAR Southeast Series
Youngster Collects Two Top-11s After Doubleheader Weekend
CHELSEA, AL (October 18, 2005) -- Sunday wasn't 18-year-old Josh Hamner's NASCAR Southeast Sereis debut. That actually came a couple of weeks ago when he piloted the #33 Richardson Racing Chevrolet at South Georgia Motorsports Park while subbing for regular driver Robert Richardson, who was off competing in another race. In Hamner's first SES start, he finished an impressive fifth.
However, Hamner kind of felt like he was making his Southeast Series debut all over again on Sunday when the series visited Nashville's Music City Motorplex. This time around, Hamner was debuting his family-owned #38 Paramount Plumbing Services / Hamner Racing Engines Chevrolet in the next to last event of the 2005 SES season.
And just like at South Georgia, Hamner turned some heads, despite having the big yellow "rookie stripe" on his rear bumper, when he captured the Bud Pole on Sunday afternoon, leading up to the 150-lap event.
"That was one of the biggest moments of my career so far," said Hamner. "Sure, it is just a pole, but this was our first time out with this car, and to take a brand new car and put it on the pole in its first race, and only my second ever Southeast Series race, is pretty special. And this is the Southeast Series, or as I still call it, the old All Pro Series, and some of the names that have raced here before and those that have won poles is impressive. Just to beat some of the guys that we beat here for the pole, like Jeff Fultz, Jason Hogan, Tim Sauter and especially JR Norris, that is a pretty big accomplishment."
In fact, Hamner's pole run on Sunday actually broke a streak by Norris of three-straight poles at the Fairgrounds track, dating back to last season. After winning the pole, Hamner then pulled a 10-pill, forcing the top 10 cars to be inverted, and putting him near mid-pack to start the event.
"I was a little disappointed with where we had to start, but that is just part of the game," said Hamner. "We knew we'd have to come up through the field and that we'd have a long way to go. Unfortunately, when the green flag dropped, the car just wasn't handling right. It was really loose and I was having to chase it up the track in the corners just to find some good grip.
"That really put us behind, because the guys that started up front set a torrid pace and we were just riding. We came in and made some changes off a couple of cautions and the car got better, but it was still really loose. We just weren't able to make up many positions because of how the car was handling. At the end, we got the car pretty good and we were running times comparable of the leaders. But by then, it was just too late."
Hamner finished the event in ninth.
"I'm not all that worried about where we finished. Sure, I wish we could have done even better, but we are early into out Southeast Series career, so to do what we did this weekend was great. I'm really proud of my team and all of the guys. It was a long weekend and we've done a lot of work to get this car ready, so to grab the pole and come out of here with a top-10 run and a car in one piece with no scratches on it is big. That was what we wanted to do."
It was a busy weekend for Hamner. On Friday night, he competed in the final Blizzard Series race of the year at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Hamner qualified 15th and finished 11th in that event.
"We had some issues in that race. We just couldn't get the car to hook up off of the corners, which is the key at Five Flags. That is ok though. We went down there to try a couple of things and to prepare for the Snowball Derby at the end of the year. I'd rather run bad at Pensacola now and learn some things so we can run that much better at the Derby at the end of the year. We are really focusing hard on that race."
Hamner finished fifth in the Blizzard Series points at Pensacola.
Hamner will next return to action in the NASCAR Southeast Series finale at Montgomery Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 29th. He will again pilot the #38 ride. Currently, Hamner sits second in the Montgomery Motor Speedway Super Late Model "BAMA Super Series" point standings, just five points behind Charlie Bradberry.