Bobby Hamilton Racing announced Sunday that its owner, Bobby Hamilton, Sr., passed away at his home in Nashville, Tenn., from complications of cancer at age 49.

"He will be greatly missed as a husband, a father, a grandfather, an owner and a friend," the Hamilton Family said. "We want to thank everyone for their love and support of our racing operation and the outpouring of care and concern during his cancer battle. One of Bobby's greatest loves in life was racing and we will continue on in his honor."

Hamilton won the Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" on July 10, 2004 on his way to winning the series championship later that season. His son, Bobby Hamilton, Jr., won the NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" at the track on June 14, 2003, making the tandem the only father-son combination to own Kentucky Speedway wins.

"I met Bobby, Sr., in 1995 while working with Johnson and Johnson. Bobby drove the first car the company sponsored while driving for Felix Sabates," Kentucky Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Mark F. Cassis said. "When Bobby learned his car was to be sponsored by Band-Aid, he smiled and replied, 'Hey, bud. That's alright. I've used a few of them, that's for sure.' That was typical Bobby. He never missed a beat, was a pleasure to be around and worked hard for our sponsorship. We'll really miss seeing him when the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series returns to our venue in July."

The self-made racer debuted in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 1989 and earned series Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 1991. Hamilton made his mark on the series in 1995 when he earned 10 top-10 finishes in the legendary Petty Enterprises No. 43 and took his career-best ninth-place finish in the final standings in the machine the following season. He moved on to Morgan McClure Motorsports from 1998-2000 and concluded his full-time NEXTEL Cup career with Andy Petree Racing during the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Hamilton raced three 2005 series events under the Bobby Hamilton Racing banner. He earned a total of four wins, 20 top-five and 67 top-10 finishes during his career.

Hamilton began competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series part-time in 1996 and drove three full seasons for the multiple-truck team he owned beginning in 2003. He made is 102nd and final series start on March 17, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway where he finished 14th. Hamilton earned a total of 10 NCTS wins, 33 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes.

The veteran driver also made 81 NASCAR Busch Series starts from 1988 to 2005 and garnered a total of one win, 11 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

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