NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Florida Dodge Dealers 250
Topics: Florida Dodge Dealers 250
February 18, 2005
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Bobby Hamilton, the winner of tonight's Florida Dodge Dealers 250, the No. 04 Dodge for Bobby Hamilton Racing. Take us through the emotions. You were on pit road, and did you feel like you were the winner? Talk about going from pit road to Victory Lane.
BOBBY HAMILTON: Well, I just wasn't going to rant and rave, you know, I know how some people would handle a situation like that. And I know NASCAR is about got all this stuff idiot-proof. And I just felt like when I got a run on him and got on the outside, I seen something in my mirror. I mean, I just seen it and I looked and there was smoke. I looked, the light wasn't on, my truck, I looked at him and I was half out on him or pretty close to half out, then the light came on. I got out of the truck. I told them, I went back straight and said they need to look at that. Then the media come over, whatever. It was like, there's speculation. I'm like, I'm going to let them handle it, they'll make it fair, if it's on tape and on the time -- in the loop or whatever. I just felt like that when the light come on and there's a lot of time in between, but it was almost a no-brainer because the start/finish line is there and the timeline is at the end of pit road. Well, I passed him at the start/finish line. I pretty much knew it, and I felt like I had confidence in what was going to happen, so I just told my guys, I said, Just stay there. One of the officials said, You can't go nowhere right now. There's something up. So I knew they was replaying stuff.
THE MODERATOR: You've won this race as a car owner. You've worked very hard at Daytona. You've always talked about that and you've always put a lot of effort in testing. Talk about being able to win it as a driver at Daytona.
BOBBY HAMILTON: I just love this racetrack. I mean, there's a lot of good memories here. This place means a lot to me. It's the first race I've won here, I've come close. So many things you can talk about when I drove for Richard Petty and all of my owners. Then we have memories when we lost Dale and everything. I was in that race. Had a shot at winning that race. It's just a pretty cool racetrack. I like big racetracks that are fast and stay congested all the time. I just enjoy racing at these places.
THE MODERATOR: 10th anniversary of the Craftsman Truck Series. Can you think of a better race than we've had with all the passing, the way it finished. Talk about the drama that kicks off this season.
BOBBY HAMILTON: Well, it's good for business. I put my owner hat on, it's good for business. And I think the fans enjoyed a finish like that and enjoy all the passing. The trucks put a great show on. I'm just enjoying what I do. I mean, I don't want to sit up here and sound like a broken record. I just pretty much enjoy what I'm doing. I'm working for myself. My guys, we didn't lose a person again this year. This is three years straight. We just have a great little race team. With all the new sponsors coming up, with Lufkin, Bailey's. We put Federated on the other truck. We just been having fun with it. Schrader is like, I'm going to send you 10 grand or something, I'm going to send you some money for doing it. I said, You ain't gonna send me nothing. He said, I got to do something for you. I said, Don't you get Budweiser free? He's like yeah. I said I want two cases of Budweiser every time we run a conjunction race. That's what I'm going to charge you. He's like, You're on. We just try to have fun with it. We're having a blast.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Bobby.
Q. Talk about starting last and being able to win a race.
BOBBY HAMILTON: Yeah, I don't think so. There's been engine changes. Maybe by starting position. But there's been engine changes where people have won. It's not a big deal here. We were going to go back there, all my guys were going to go back there anyhow and ride around. We had teamed up with Jack Sprague and Setzer a little bit, and David Starr wanted to go back there. There were seven or eight of us. I don't know if anybody realizes the speeds we run a couple times, but we run some 46 flats. I think that's pretty close to 200 miles an hour a couple times back there in that pack. That was pretty cool to sit back there and run them kind of lap times. But we just knew - I don't mean nothing bad about - but you have people that have never been here before. The front part of the pack was stacked up with guys that didn't have a lot of experience here. These things are a handful in traffic because they suck up so much, you can bump draft real easy with them and you can bump draft without doing it, without meaning to. So we just elected to stay back there. I told them, Tell me when it's 20 to go, then it's going to be time to go to work.
Q. Talking to Jimmy?
BOBBY HAMILTON: No. I haven't talked to him. I don't really have a reason to talk to him. I know he said a few things or whatever. You know something, I had a clean run on him. I turned up underneath him. My nose was there. He turned down on me. I let off the gas to keep him from spinning around. It wiggled his truck. I juust pulled it outside of him. I mean, I don't know what the problem is. But, I mean, I've seen Jimmy Spencer drive for years, and that was mild.
Q. Do you remember a night of racing like this with the two finishes we had tonight?
BOBBY HAMILTON: Not a doubleheader. That's pretty wild. The IROC race was a blast for me. Obviously, that was my first one. To see everything that happened, the way them guys, I mean, they take that thing serious. I thought, we're going to go out here and cruise around. Mark was lifting us up. They take it pretty serious at what they're doing. Then to get out of the truck, that pretty much, after I seen the way the IROC race went, I said, I race with guys that know a lot of what they're doing. I'm fixing to race with about 15 that haven't done this. I know for sure I'm going to go to the rear now. I'm glad it was a safe race. I know we tore up some stuff. I don't think we had any injuries or anything, so that's the main thing. For a doubleheader night, no, I've never seen a night that spectacular.
Q. Is it a good omen to win the season opener as you defend your championship?
BOBBY HAMILTON: Y'all have heard this story. I walked into my shop right before I come here, all my people were meeting and they were establishing goals. I stopped the meeting. We don't do that. We never have, we're not going to start. What I mean by that is we're not going to do anything, if I have any control of it, to step outside our little box. We've got a pretty successful thing going on. We have a small partnership with some good engineers that is privately owned by me. Nobody knows 'em. Nobody can hire 'em. I got some pretty cool, exclusive stuff going on. So what I mean by that is the minute you start stepping outside the box that makes you successful, you have to be real careful. You want to do so good. The minute you do that, then you start doing things different. So I told them, I said -- I'm not saying we don't care about a championship, because we raced hard for the one we won last year, but what got us there is doing what we did tonight. If you're running like you did tonight, your truck drives the way it did tonight, your crew chief makes calls like he did tonight, you wake up five or six races ago, like we did last year, if you guys remember, I wouldn't talk about it till five to go, you're in a pretty good position to have a decent year when it comes to the championship. But I promise you, it's not an attention-getter. Y'all don't care anyhow. But I don't care. I really don't care if it happens or not. I've done it. It's sort of like scuba diving. I've done that once. I tried skiing, about killed myself. Okay, I've done that once. I'm sort of hard to please on a regular basis. I done it once, it was pretty cool, but it was more for other people than it was for me. I just want to race and have fun. That's what I do this for.
Q. Were you surprised about some of the trucks that finish flipped tonight?
BOBBY HAMILTON: I didn't know anybody flipped. Did we have somebody flip?
Q. The 14 and the 30.
BOBBY HAMILTON: Well, I don't know what we do about that. I mean, these things are big. They usually stay on the ground pretty good. I'm sure NASCAR will take them to the wind tunnel and figure out a way. They got one roof flap in them. Maybe two will do. Maybe they'll start putting side windows in them like the cars, stop the cabs from filling up with air. I'm sure it probably happened when they got in the grass. Is that what happened or did they flip on the asphalt? If it was the grass, they get in there and dig in. We seen several cars spin past the asphalt like Michael did last year. Their wheel dig into the grass. It's a leverage thing. It turns it over. If it's just the grass, they won't pay as much attention to it as they would if it did like that ARCA car did and went airborne on asphalt. It's a completely different thing.
Q. Is there some past bad blood that's possibly resurfaced tonight between yourself and Jimmy?
BOBBY HAMILTON: I never had one problem with Jimmy. I hadn't heard what went on so I don't really need to say much. I heard he said a lot of things. I'm one that don't take third-hand information very lightly. I don't pay a lot of attention to it. Man, truck racing is just this way. I don't like it at times. I mean, good God, Todd would have been ready to kill everybody in the IROC race, you know what I mean? It was that bad in the IROC race, which was good, it was a good race. If he's upset about it, I hate that he is. I had to let off the gas to keep from turning him around. I said it out loud on interview. If it would have been another manufacturer, I wouldn't have cut him loose, I would have turned him right around because he cut down on me. I always said, in restrictor plate racing, high-speed race tracks, they need to do something about blocking. When you have a run on a man, he wipes your nose off, then it stacks people up behind you, that's how a lot of these accident happen. I do it every now and then, if it's somebody that does it to me. But there were times that people had run on me, I just let them have him. There's no bad blood in between me and Jimmy. I would say there isn't any now. You get lost in the moment, you don't really realize what happens till you go back and watch the film. As far as I care, I don't have one ounce of problem with Jimmy. I think he's a great race car driver, looking forward to racing with him.
Q. Who told you that you won the race?
BOBBY HAMILTON: NASCAR did. They just told me to sit tight. I already had some people that work for me to be checking with speed, and then I -- when I found out that NASCAR was checking the loop to see what had happened. I just felt confident for a reason. I said I can be wrong, but there was just a strange feeling. I'm really aware what goes on around me when I'm racing, and I seen the smoke. I looked up, like I said. I looked up, and I seen a light come on. I looked over the instant, all I do is twitch to the left a little bit, and I was ahead of him. I said, We just won this race. They have to make a fair assessment about it because, I mean, the man went to Victory Lane and all. All his people are there. They got to take time with it and make sure they make the right decision. NASCAR is the one that told me.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Thanks for coming in.
BOBBY HAMILTON: Thank you. Appreciate everything, you guys.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|