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Receiving words of wisdom from Hamilton
Mar 28, 2007 12:00 am
When Bobby Hamilton Racing reports to Martinsville for Friday's Kroger 250, Chase Miller will have some handwritten advice from late owner Bobby Hamilton.
His widow, Lori, found the checklist with 10 bullet points, but only five had been written down.
"Number one on his list was to never turn right in a spin; that sure would have been helpful at Daytona," said Miller, who will drive the No. 4 Open Joist Dodge affectionately known as 'Angel', which Chad Chaffin drove to Victory Lane at Dover in 2004. "He also advised me to never run without my HANS device. The most valuable information he left for me was to always make myself familiar with my surroundings on the race track and never commit to what my spotter says without checking. It's easy sometimes to focus on the truck in front of you and forget about what is beside you or behind you that could be potential problems.
"To the average person it's only a little piece of paper with tiny handwriting, but for me it's full of knowledge that I will never forget from an unforgettable person."
Miller finished 10th in his only other truck race at the half-mile Virginia track last October.
"The key to winning at Martinsville to me is being in the right place at the right time," said Crew Chief Marcus Richmond, who grew up 30 minutes from the track. "Martinsville is a true short track and so much of what happens at a short track you can't control. I have seen drivers spin in the opening laps of the race and come back to win it. That is how unpredictable that place can be.
"But I also believe that to be in the right place at the right time you have to put yourself in position to do that. It is critical to take care of your equipment and have great stops of Pit Road. Track position is the key. Chase did a great job last year in the fall race and we look for the success this weekend."
Veteran Ken Schrader will drive the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge known as 'SLIM', Hamilton's favorite truck which he drove in 19 of the 25 races in his Craftsman Truck Series championship season of 2004, visiting Victory Lane twice. BHR has set the pole the past two years in this race.
Schrader will give way to Joe Ruttman when his Nextel Cup commitments conflict with the truck schedule.
"I have been joking with the race team about how I am the young development driver now when compared to Joe," Schrader said. "Ruttman is a great guy who will do an amazing job for the team when I can't be there. He has had tremendous success in the truck series and at BHR. He was very instrumental in the early success of the truck series.
"A lot of people think he has not been around the past couple years, but he has kept himself busy with testing for manufacturers. I know BHR took him and tested him for 500 laps at the Nashville Motorplex and their speeds were impressive on old tires. The fact he ran 500 laps, which is like two truck races, on that track on a hot afternoon just proves he can still get the job done."
Qualifying for the 250-lapper will start at 10:10 a.m. CDT with the race going green at 2 p.m. on Fox.
This race is the first of six daytime events on the Truck Series schedule with two of them televised by Fox.