Josh Hamner Is 99 Percent Perfect at Pensacola 17-Year-Old Has Lapped Car Ruin an Otherwise Flawless Race CHELSEA, AL (May 17, 2005) -- Statistically speaking, 99 percent is pretty impressive. A 99 on a test is an A+ hands down, a 99% ...
Josh Hamner Is 99 Percent Perfect at Pensacola
17-Year-Old Has Lapped Car Ruin an Otherwise Flawless Race
CHELSEA, AL (May 17, 2005) -- Statistically speaking, 99 percent is pretty impressive. A 99 on a test is an A+ hands down, a 99% market share for a company would be a monopoly, and if planes were on time 99 percent of the time, nobody would ever complain about air travel.
But 99 out of 100 isn't always a good thing in racing. For example, if you lead 99 out of 100 laps, it doesn't necessarily make for a perfect race. Especially if that one unled lap is the final one. 17-year-old Josh Hamner learned that lesson the hard way this weekend at Five Flags Speedway (FL) when a lapped car cost him an almost certain victory after he dominated a two-barrel Pro Late Model event at the track.
"I had a hot rod," said Hamner. "We had a little too much gear in the car for qualifying since two barrels don't like too much gear. I ran my best qualifying lap ever. It was perfect the first lap, but the speed wasn't there. So we changed the gear and that's what it needed. David Hole qualified on the pole and pulled a four [for the invert] and that's what I needed because it put me on the pole."
"They dropped the green flag and it went. My crew chief told me to maintain and not burn up my tires, so the whole race I just rode. I had one heck of a car. I was on the bottom running that white line at the bottom all night."
Well, almost the whole night.
"I guess that it wasn't meant for me to win that race because I did everything that I could do and I didn't win. As soon as I took the white flag, I went into turn one; two guys ahead of me were racing and just about wrecked in front of me. I had about a half straightaway on second place and had to go high in turn two to avoid them. I just about had to stop on the racetrack. Plus, I had a bunch of junk on my tires from going up high. I kept going and in turns three and four, second place was right there behind me. Coming off the corner, we touched and I went up the track and nearly spun out. I would have been fine, but a lapped car was down there racing like he was going to win the race. I couldn't get low like I needed to because he was there."
Hamner finished second and had the whole ride home to think about that fact.
"I've been kicking myself since then and trying to figure out what I could have done differently, but it was a lapped car that cost me that race."
There is one thing that Hamner doesn't regret, though, and that is the high school senior's decision to skip his senior luncheon on Friday afternoon to go and race at a track in the next state.
"I have no regrets about that at all -- not even for one second."
Next up for Hamner is a return to Alabama to tackle the Montgomery Motor Speedway on Saturday night and try to visit victory lane at a place where he has had two great runs so far in 2005, but hasn't quite had the cards fall the right way for a win. The #38 team is ready to go with the same car from last weekend and hopefully a better result.
"We had a little bit of damage from Pensacola, so we got the car put back together and put our four-barrel motor in it for Montgomery. We are ready to go.
"This is going to be a really competitive race. We've been there twice this year and tried different shock and spring combinations each time. We combined the best of both and I know that we will have at least a top-five car for sure in the race unless I do something stupid."
Hamner's career in a four-barrel Super Late Model is only four races old to this point and he was competitive enough to contend for the victory in three of those events.
"If you take Speedfest at Lakeland out of it [Hamner's first SLM race], we've been right there every race. We've been a contender and it's time to get on to the next level. It would mean so much for me to win one of these. We've come so close. I know that we'll have another shot this weekend."
The 125-lap event for Super Late Models at Montgomery Speedway will take place Saturday night, May 21st.