CHEVROLET NEWS Tom Hammonds Returns to NHRA Drag Racing COLUMBUS, Ohio; June 11, 1999: Tom Hammonds, power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves' NBA basketball team, returns to the Pro Stock category of the '99 NHRA Winston Drag ...
Tom Hammonds Returns to NHRA Drag Racing
COLUMBUS, Ohio; June 11, 1999: Tom Hammonds, power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves' NBA basketball team, returns to the Pro Stock category of the '99 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series this weekend at the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway. Following the Timberwolves' loss in the fourth game of the first round of the Playoffs in the NBA's Western Conference, Hammonds dusted off his Winnebago/Matco Tools/Kendall Oil Camaro Z28, purchased a new truck/trailer and headed to the nation's dragstrips for some testing in advance of his season debut. Plans to make his first appearance at the Fram Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., were delayed, however, when the team experienced transmission problems with the race car and additional troubles with the new transporter. "Getting ready for the Columbus event has been a feat in itself," said Hammonds, 32, of Crestview, Fla., "especially after the problems we have gone through the last two to three weeks. You are going to have things like that happen when you have a brand new truck and trailer like we have. I think in the long run everything will be fine. This is a big step up for our program and hopefully everyone will be proud of it. "We didn't get to do much testing because of the gearbox problems and between trying to test, trying to get the new transmission installed, and getting the Camaro tuned up, there weren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. "We hope we are ready. We came to this race last year with a brand new Camaro and we ran well. I don't think the (manual) shifters will be too much of a problem. I still have to do my job as a driver and make good runs. I think we have a good combination. We will do the best we can." Columbus was also the site of his first race in '98, where he qualified his new Camaro in 14th place and won one round. He plans to enter the next 10 NHRA national events until the NBA training camp opens in mid-October. Hammonds made his professional racing debut in July, 1996, when he entered the Pro Stock division at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. He has two round wins so far and his career-best elapsed time is 7.009 seconds and career-best speed is 197.10 mph. A forward in the NBA since 1989, he's played also for the Washington Bullets, Charlotte Hornets and Denver Nuggets.