Schneider Electric Racing Preview

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Nov. 12, 2002) – “Finito. Ciao. Hasta la vista, baby.” This is the last NASCAR Winston Cup Series race this season. And Schneider Electric driver Bobby Hamilton can’t believe it ended so soon. After 37 events and the season finale this weekend, can you believe anyone could keep going? Most drivers and teams are excited for the quick winter break since they have been gone every weekend nonstop since July. But not Hamilton, he’s ready to keep strapping in that No. 55 Chevrolet and stay up on the wheel trying to gain the best possible finishes he can.

And as for the last race, Hamilton is looking for teamwork from his crew members to help pump up those stats from previous events at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 45-year-old Nashville, Tenn. native wants to end the season with a bang, and that doesn’t mean a fireworks show. Hamilton and his crew members will use every last bit of energy they have left to keep on digging for a strong finish in this weekend’s Ford 400. The team is looking for an advantage and a chance to compete up front, so they chose the same Chevy they raced in Martinsville (Va.), Atlanta and Phoenix (Ariz.) recently. This time they hope the combo is right for Homestead’s 1.5-mile flat-surfaced oval. But before the season is over, Hamilton recaps the ups and downs of a grueling 2002 season with his team.

Bobby what were your favorite and least favorite parts of this season?

“OK, well the least favorite is easiest. Getting hurt in Richmond at the truck race was the hardest thing for me to do. It’s hard to sit there and watch someone else get in your car and run up front at your favorite tracks. You can’t help but be an armchair quarterback in those situations. Greg (Biffle) did a great job for us for those four races and Ron (Hornaday, Jr.) did well at Talladega (Ala.) too. It was great experience for Greg, who will be competing next year full time. And the guys liked working with him. It wasn’t easy for me because I was supposed to be in that car and wanted to be there bad. I tried my best to come to the races and keep an upbeat attitude for the guys. It was important to me for them to do well and get strong finishes.

“Now for the favorite, well that is a hard one. It’s hard to label one thing as what is best. So I have to pick my two best finishes this year (Dover and Rockingham, both ninth), singing at a wedding, being in a music video or getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the NASA facilities. We did so many outside things that helped get Schneider Electric’s name out there this year, and at the same time it was really cool.

“The music video and working with Jo Dee (Messina) was a lot of fun. She is a vibrant person and it was great getting to see what is involved in a music video. The tour that NASA gave us was amazing. We got to see things that guests don’t normally get to. I’m still planning on going back for a launch sometime. We had some good races this year, and some times that we wouldn’t change for the world. And now we’ve had some races that we want to do over, but I think every team has that with how many we have to race in now.”

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