Josh Hamner Birmingham SLM preview

HIGH SCHOOLER JOSH HAMNER JUGGLES RACING & EDUCATION Teen Heads to Birmingham This Weekend for SLM Season Opener CHELSEA, AL (February 24, 2005) -- As far as we know, there is no high school in the United States that offers a varsity letter in...

HIGH SCHOOLER JOSH HAMNER JUGGLES RACING & EDUCATION
Teen Heads to Birmingham This Weekend for SLM Season Opener

CHELSEA, AL (February 24, 2005) -- As far as we know, there is no high school in the United States that offers a varsity letter in the sport of auto racing.

That's too bad for 17-year-old Josh Hamner, who is making a name for himself in the sporting world of the Southeast. The High School Senior doesn't wear a number on the back of a jersey; instead he has his #38 on the side of his racecar.

"I'm a little bit of an outcast," said Hamner. "What I do is a different thing. Usually you have kids playing football or baseball, but I've been racing since I was three of four when I had my first go kart. It's not an everyday common thing."

What also isn't an everyday thing is for a driver of his age to make a step up into the powerful Super Late Model ranks. But Hamner is prepared with thousands of laps under his belt in karts, Mini-Modifieds and two-barrel Late Models.

In his first big Super Late Model event, just a few weeks ago during Florida's SpeedFest, Hamner was very quick and had a good run going before getting caught in a late race wreck. His education continues this weekend with an entry in the Southern All Star Series season opener at Birmingham International Raceway (AL).

Hamner's got plenty of racing experience at the track even at his young age.

"I'm really familiar with the track," said Hamner. "When I started in 2-barrel cars, we tested, tested and tested more at Birmingham. I ran all of the local shows there last year. A lot of people don't like racing there because it can be tough to get around there fast. People will tell you different things (about the place) and there are actually many ways to get around the track. Staying on the bottom is fast, but if you stay there too long you'll burn your tires up. I really like the place because it is challenging."

After Birmingham, Hamner will look towards "The Rattler" on the following weekend at South Alabama Speedway. He plans on hitting all of the big short track events in 2005 including The All American 400, the Blizzard Series in Florida and the Snowball Derby.

One advantage to running the big shows is being able to follow in the tire tracks of the short track legends that Hamner competes against. It offers him a chance to accelerate his learning curve.

"When we tested at Lakeland (for Speedfest), we were down there with Wayne Anderson," said Hamner. "Anytime that you can share the track with anyone like that, who has wheeled a racecar for so long and done so much with it, you can learn a lot. For example, you pay attention to those guys on the restarts and see where they are beating you."

Hamner's outlook for 2005 isn't just to learn either -- it's also to post the best finishes possible.

"We want to win some races this year," said Hamner. "We're going to do more traveling than before and I'm excited about that. We've got some good guys on this team and plenty of horsepower, so we should do pretty well."

But win, lose or draw, Hamner is happy just to be in a racecar at any racetrack.

"I love racing," said Hamner. "It's such a ball and I would race anything that can be raced. It doesn't matter if it's a turtle; I'd be there to race it."

-51ss-

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Series Stock car
Drivers Wayne Anderson