Hamilton, Jr., Previews the Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo at Kentucky Speedway
NASCAR Busch Series driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr., gave "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" grand marshal and Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory a pace car tour of the race line at Kentucky Speedway today during a preview news conference for the June 16 event.
Hamilton, Jr., is racing in the NASCAR Busch Series for the first time since 2004 this season and is reunited with Team Rensi Motorsports, which helped him earn four wins, including a "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" title, 13 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes en route to a career-best fourth-place showing in the final 2003 series standings.
The 29-year-old driver resident of White House, Tenn., enters the June 9 race at his hometown Nashville Superspeedway ranked ninth in the series standings after picking up three positions with a 10th-place run at Dover International Speedway June 2. He will start the Nashville race owning a total of two top-10 finishes through 14 starts this season.
He finished 24th in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at the track, but is taking a confident approach to his sixth career start at a facility where he's led 195 of the 691 NASCAR Busch Series laps he's completed through four races.
"We've won here, so you kind of stick your chest out a little bit, and my team has always run good here," he said. "It gives you that little extra confidence but it changes. Sometimes you'll see a guy dominate a track two or three times and then, all the sudden, he can't fall out of a tree there.
"You've got to have good pit stops, miss all the wrecks, your car has to be good, your driver can't make a mistake and you have to capitalize on everyone else's mistakes. It's a whole big mixture thrown into a bucket. If you can make all that work, you've got a shot at winning this race."
Hamilton, Jr., also is looking forward to battling a 43-car field containing an expected eight NEXTEL Cup competitors, including current Busch Series leader and 2005 "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" winner Carl Edwards, on a 1.5-mile tri-oval that provides consistent race conditions.
"This track is unbelievable. It stays the same from daytime to nighttime and has a bunch of grip in the daytime and nighttime. That what provides such good racing for the fan and that's why they come here. Drivers love it, too," he said. "I've won here and I know my way around here. No matter how screwed up you get me, I know where Victory Lane is, I know where the bathrooms are and I've been there, done that. That helps a lot in your mind and your team feeds off it."
Kentucky Speedway's third of five 2007 event weekends begins Friday, June 15 with "ClearChannel Cincinnati Fanfest" when gates open at 5:00 p.m. Fans will be able to enjoy free infield access along with interactive games and activities for children. NASCAR Busch Series drivers will practice until 8:00 p.m., and a one-hour driver autograph session will begin in the garage area at 8:15 p.m.
The weekend continues June 16 when gates open at 3:00 p.m., with Legends Series racing on the paved quarter-mile track. NASCAR Busch Series "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" qualifying follows at 5:00 p.m., and legendary rock artist Peter Frampton takes the stage on the Turn 1 Concourse at 6:30 p.m. The seventh NASCAR Busch Series event in speedway history will take the green flag at 8:00 p.m. Collectible event rally towels will be distributed to fans throughout the day courtesy of Cincinnati Bell, Edy's Grand Ice Cream, Fifth Third Bank, Holiday Homes, Tickets.com and WLWT-TV Channel 5 in Cincinnati. Tickets for "ClearChannel Cincinnati Fanfest" and the "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" can be reserved online at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE (7223), through Tickets.com outlets and Meijer stores, or at Kentucky Speedway ticket offices located at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100, in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., and the speedway Fan Center in Sparta, Ky., located off of I-71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.