Tire shake hands Hammonds an early exit in Memphis. Heading into the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier driver Tom Hammonds knew he would need to put together a nearly flawless run...
Tire shake hands Hammonds an early exit in Memphis.
Heading into the first round of eliminations at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier driver Tom Hammonds knew he would need to put together a nearly flawless run in order to advance to the second round. After all, Hammonds' reward for putting together a solid effort in qualifying and earning the eighth starting position would be a first-round match-up with Mike Edwards, who had posted a runner-up finish at last week's event in Reading, Pa. With the two rivals qualifying within five thousandths of a second of each other, there would simply be no room for error.
As the teams pulled into the staging lanes at Memphis Motorsports Park on Sunday, they found weather conditions had changed from the previous day with cooler temperatures forcing crew chiefs to make last minute adjustments to their race cars, particularly in the Pro Stock category. Heightening Hammonds' challenge was the fact that his race would be the first pair of the "factory hot rods", so he would not have the chance to watch other competitors and make any final adjustments.
Unfortunately, the outcome was decided very early, as Hammonds' mount suffered extreme tire shake almost immediately after launching, which pulled it towards the centerline, leaving the former NBA star no option but to shut off early, allowing his rival to drive on for the round win. Despite the disappointment, Hammonds still found many positives from his weekend in Memphis.
"Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for the Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care team. We certainly would have liked to win, but when you haven't raced in a while, you get a little rusty, and I think both myself as a driver and the crew were a tick off today. We just have to work harder and get better.
"The air changed dramatically today, and we didn't compensate enough with gear ratio. As a result, we were a little too aggressive and overpowered the track. With the amount of tire shake we had, I got a free massage that I wasn't looking for.
"We're excited heading into the next race and the rest of the season. We seem to have gotten a good handle on our Winnebago/GM Vehicle Care Cavalier, and are making progress towards being consistent on a weekly basis. We have a good baseline for Route 66 Raceway (site of next weekend's event), so we'll plug it in and see what happens from there."