DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bobby Hamilton, Jr.’s full circle in racing has led the Nashville, Tennessee third-generation racer right back to his roots…right back to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.
“This feels like a class reunion coming back to ARCA…where you get to come back and play,” Hamilton said.
“I got my superspeedway start in this series before we got the chance to do the NASCAR thing. Now we’re right back where we were, and it feels great. Everything circles back around eventually.”
Hamilton is also planning a full season on the ARCA tour.
“That’s the plan. I’ve always wanted to run for championship. I’m not saying I’ve got anything for those guys that run up front here…they’ve got too much for us; but we’re going to take a run at it. Never raced on dirt either. Only saw one dirt race in my life, and that was from the grandstands…so that should be interesting.”
With a full season ahead, Hamilton’s year starts at Daytona, just as it has for the ARCA Racing Series every year since 1964.
“We’ve got a decent car. TRD just hung the body on it. We’ve got the ARCA Ilmor motor. We’ve got the best transmission…best gears. If we can throw some of my experience at it…who knows? Maybe we can stay with ’em. There are a lot of drivers here without experience from a lot of different divisions. Maybe experience will make the difference.”
Hamilton will be driving the No. 4 Makeover Mortgage-AmericanStairDesign.com Dodge. His wife Stephanie is listed as the car owner. Chuck Adcock is his crew chief. Hamilton formed the team – Hamilton-Hughes Racing – in the off-season.
“The No. 4 goes back to my dad (Bobby Hamilton, Sr.). He had the most fun in racing when he ran the 4 car for Morgan-McClure (Motorsports). We both raced the Kodak 4 car. The 4 was a number we shared, so it’s pretty cool to have it back on our car. And my dad’s championship in the Trucks was with the 4, so the number is very special to me.”
With a healthy mix of veterans and rookies in the field, Hamilton will always offer advice is he’s asked.
“The main thing at Daytona is patience. We spend more time here wrecking just going straight. You see it on TV and think you can do it…and maybe you can, but maybe the guy in front of you can’t, and then it happens. You’ve got to stay patient…stay in line, and before you know it, you’ll be where you’re supposed to be.”
The 53rd annual Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona is live on FS1 Saturday, February 13 and precedes NASCAR’s same-night Sprint Unlimited. The ARCA Racing Series takes to the track for practice Thursday from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday following final practice Friday morning (9:30 – 10:30 a.m.). ARCAracing.com will feature live timing and scoring and live chat for all on-track activities.
-ARCA Racing Series Press Release. Photo credit: ARCA