NBA Star Tom Hammonds Debuts New Pro Stock Camaro in Columbus HEBRON, Ohio; Friday, June 12, 1998: Tom Hammonds, power forward for the Minneapolis Timberwolves' basketball team, will debut his 1998 Camaro Z28 in NHRA's Pro Stock...
NBA Star Tom Hammonds Debuts New Pro Stock Camaro in Columbus
HEBRON, Ohio; Friday, June 12, 1998: Tom Hammonds, power forward for the Minneapolis Timberwolves' basketball team, will debut his 1998 Camaro Z28 in NHRA's Pro Stock category today in the Pontiac Excitement Nationals at National Trail Raceway, outside of Columbus.
With the '98 NBA season over for Hammonds, the 31-year-old from Crestview, Fla., will concentrate on campaigning his Winnebago Motor Homes/Mac Tools/Kendall Oil Camaro Z28 in the remaining events of the 1998 Winston Drag Racing Series. His last NHRA outing was in 1997, at the Keystone Nationals in Maple Grove, Pa., where Tom was No. 13 qualifier. Hammonds arrived at National Trail Raceway directly from testing in Joliet, Ill, where he made eight passes down the quarter-mile at Route 66 Raceway, posting an elapsed time of 6.97 seconds at a top speed of 197.80 mph.
"The Camaro didn't even have the race setup on it when we made that run," he says. "We had to make some improvements before we put the race setup on it for Columbus."
At last year's Pontiac Excitement Nationals Hammonds competed in an Oldsmobile. This season he has switched to the Chevy Camaro Z28, with support from Chevrolet. "I feel pretty good going into this year's race," he says. "I think we have a chance of doing well here. I heard they made some improvements to the track and facility. Last weekend some of the other guys were testing here and they ran pretty well, I hear. If the weather is favorable, it could be a very fast race.
"Obviously, my goal is always to qualify and to go rounds after that. I don't think qualifying is out of the question here. I think we have a good shot at it."
Hammonds has been competing in NHRA drag racing for 15 years, making his professional NHRA racing debut in July, 1996, in the Pro Stock division at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo. Competing on a limited NHRA schedule, he has no event wins so far. His career-best elapsed time is 7.009 seconds and career-best speed is 197.10 mph.
The Camaro Z28 chassis was built by RJ Race Cars, and engines are from Mike Thomas. Crew Chief is Eric Luzinski, Tim Roberts tunes the engines, and Charles Burnett is team mechanic. "Actually," says Hammonds, "we all put our heads together and make a decision, so I can't really say Eric is Crew Chief. We never rely on one specific person. We're a team. If something happens we have nobody to blame but ourselves." # # #