View Full Version : Team Marines driver Hamilton wins Busch race on Flag Day

06-15-03, 11:44 AM
Patriotic victory

Team Marines driver Hamilton wins Busch race on Flag Day
Posted: Sunday June 15, 2003 2:29 AM

SPARTA, Ky. (AP) -- Moments after winning Saturday's Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, Bobby Hamilton Jr. proudly waved a red U.S. Marine Corps flag as he stood on top of his car.

Hamilton, driving the No. 25 Team Marines Racing car, couldn't think of too many better ways to celebrate his first Busch series win of the season.

The 25-year-old driver from Nashville, Tenn., overcame a pit-stop miscue and rallied to win, passing Jason Keller two laps from the end.

Hamilton won by .488 of a second and averaged 136.108 mph. It was the fastest of the three Busch series races run since 2001 at Kentucky Speedway.

It was Hamilton's third consecutive top-six finish, and his second career Busch circuit win. His first win came in May 2002 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

"I think this is the world's greatest team here, and definitely the world's greatest driver," said Hamilton's crew chief, Harold Holly. "As a driver, he's a hot rod. You'll see him in Victory Lane a whole lot more."

Early on, it appeared Hamilton might win easily. He started from the No. 2 spot on the front row and led most of the way until first caution of the race, which came after Randy LaJoie lost his transmission on lap 86.

Hamilton pitted during the caution, and a NASCAR official ruled that the pit crew failed to sufficiently tighten the lugnuts on the front left tire of Hamilton's Ford Taurus.

He returned to pit row to remedy the situation and dropped to 13th. He worked his way back to second, dropped back to fourth and then picked off three drivers in front of him.

Keller took the lead from Ron Hornaday Jr. with 26 laps left, and Hamilton passed Hornaday two laps later. Two laps from the end, Hamilton ducked underneath Keller to pass and pulled away.

"I kept getting a run and getting a run and just drove under him," Hamilton said. "I drove it in there too deep and I thought he got under me, but that Robert Yates horsepower picked me up."

Keller said Hamilton "was better than we were late in the race. I'm disappointed we didn't win the race, but I can sleep tonight because I raced my heart out."

Hornaday finished third, more than seven seconds behind Keller. Stacy Compton, who started on the pole, and Scott Wimmer rounded out the top five. Only 10 cars finished on the lead lap.

Scott Riggs, a two-time winner this season on the Busch circuit, missed a chance to win for the second consecutive week. He was leading on lap 165 when he was part of a six-car accident.

Riggs' crash gave the series points lead to eighth-place finisher David Green. Riggs wound up 30th.

"We went down into the corner and I gave Hornaday the outside line off of Turn 2 and gave him the outside line getting into [Turn] 3 down there," Riggs said. "To me, I thought he just came down. I don't know what happened. I've got to watch the tape."




06-15-03, 12:28 PM
Man, oh, man, isn't this great!! :D Chalk one up for the Corps. I live in hicksville, Graham, NC, but this is hardcorps Nascar country! Can't wait to get to work, tomorrow! He he, gonna have good time with this! :banana:

06-16-03, 04:23 AM
My driver in Winston series didn't do quite as well. Thats alright, he has a few "wins". Now if we could get my driver, Jeff Gordon to race the Corps car, we might have a winning season!! :D