Bobby Hamilton Jr.
|Bobby Hamilton Jr.|
January 8, 1978 |
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career|
|64 races run over 5 years|
|Best finish||36th (2005)|
|First race||2000 Pennzoil 400 (Homestead)|
|Last race||2005 Ford 400 (Homestead)|
|NASCAR Xfinity Series career|
|253 races run over 10 years|
|Best finish||4th (2003)|
|First race||1998 AC Delco 200 (Rockingham)|
|Last race||2009 Dover 200 (Dover)|
|First win||2002 Busch 200 (Loudon)|
|Last win||2003 Bashas' Supermarkets 200 (Phoenix)|
|NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career|
|37 races run over 6 years|
|Best finish||16th (2006)|
|First race||2001 GNC Live Well 200 (Milwaukee)|
|Last race||2011 Bully Hill Vineyards 200 (Nashville)|
|Statistics current as of November 28, 2012.|
When he was 15 years old, he found a Ford Pinto in his driveway as a gift from his father (2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Bobby Hamilton). They fixed up the car, and Hamilton began racing it on weekends at the local speedway. In 1998, he moved to the ARCA series where he earned four top-5 finishes in five races.
In 1998, Hamilton Jr. began to run some Busch Series races for the Sadler Brothers Racing #95 team. He made his debut at Rockingham in October, where he started in 27th position. He led four laps and finished 37th, three laps off the lead. He also made the race at Atlanta, had a 19th place start and 20th place finish. Hamilton and the #95 Shoney's Inn team entered 1999 with a part-time schedule. In four races with the team, his best finish was 27th at Rockingham and Darlington. His best start was sixth at Daytona. He did not race again until the Hensley Motorsports #63 Exxon Superflo team had an opening. He ran six of the next seven races, beginning at Watkins Glen. In that seat, he set his best career finish of 21st at Pikes Peak. Hamilton Jr. then moved over to the #22 Air Jamaica Team owned by Carroll Racing. He qualified for all the races he attempted, and matched his career best start of 6th at Charlotte. At Homestead-Miami Hamilton Jr. started 15th and finished 9th.
Hamilton Jr. got a full-time ride with Carroll in 2000, driving the newly formed #26 Chevy, with sponsorship from Baywatch. Hamilton Jr. had three top-10s in 2000, with a fourth at Talladega, and a pair of sevenths at Charlotte and Memphis. Hamilton Jr. also won his first career pole in the season finale at Homestead-Miami. He finished 19th in points. During the Homestead weekend in 2000, he made his Winston Cup Series debut at that track, driving the #57 Chevrolet owned by his father. He finished 33rd in that race, six laps down. He drove the #01 Coors Light Chevrolet for SABCO Racing the following week to a 31st place finish.
Hamilton Jr. returned to Carroll had a pair of 5th at Darlington and Rockingham in 2001. He also added three other top-10s, and won another pole at Fontana in addition to starting in the top-10 for half the races. After finishing 17th in points, he left the team. He made his Truck Series debut that year at The Milwaukee Mile in the #4 Dana Corporation Dodge Ram, but exited early due to a transmission failure. He also ran three races in the #33 Oakwood Homes Chevy for Andy Petree Racing as a teammate to his father, filling in for the injured Joe Nemechek. He also ran seven Cup races late in the season for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, driving the #4 Kodak Chevy to three top-twenty finishes.
In 2002, Hamilton Jr. joined Team Rensi Motorsports to drive the #25 United States Marine Corps Ford Taurus. He won his first career race at New Hampshire and finished eighth in points. He also had his first top-five finish in the Truck Series at Nashville Superspeedway, finishing seventh in his father's Square D entry. He had his statistically career-best season in 2003, where he won 4 Busch Series events and finished 4th in the final standings. He also partnered with Rensi to run some races at the Winston Cup level, his best finish being a 14th at Kansas Speedway in the #35 Marines Ford.
Hamilton Jr. returned to Rensi in 2004, but did not win a race. He drove 6 Nextel Cup events for Phoenix Racing in the #09 Miccosukee Indian Gambling Dodge, and had a best finish of seventeenth. He also drove three times in the Truck Series, winning a pole in his father's #04 truck, as well as running twice for HT Motorsports. After 23 Busch races, he left Rensi to move up to the Nextel level, driving the #32 Tide Chevrolet for PPI Motorsports. He was given the full-time ride for 2005, but struggled immensely, failing to qualify three times and not finishing higher than 11th. After driving two events in equipment leased from Front Row Motorsports, Hamilton Jr. was let go from PPI at the end of the season.
Without a full-time ride, Hamilton Jr. moved to the Truck Series, leasing equipment from the #08 team owned by Green Light Racing, and running with Corky's Ribs and BBQ sponsorship. After three races, it was announced that his father had been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, and Hamilton Jr. was deemed his replacement in the #18 Fastenal Dodge. He won the pole in his first race in the truck, but only mustered a sixteenth-place finish in points, as well as dealing with conflicts within the family-run organization. His attempt to run the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the Cup level also failed.
Following the death of his father on January 7, 2007, Hamilton Jr. was expected to take over ownership of the team, however he was not part of the management named by the team's backers the following month.
In 2007, Hamilton Jr. returned to the Busch Series and Team Rensi, this time driving the #35 McDonald's Ford. He had three top-ten finishes and finished sixth in the final standings. After his #35 team folded in 2008, he moved back to the #25 car with Smithfield Foods sponsoring for thirty races. Despite missing two road course events, Hamilton Jr. had two top-tens and finished fifteenth in points. The team was ready to close near the end of the season when Smithfield's sponsorship ended, but Hamilton Jr. funded the team out of his own pocket for the final few races of the season to keep the team going. He also purchased a small portion of the Sadler Brothers team for whom he had begun his career, allowing them to run a limited schedule in the Nationwide and ARCA RE/MAX Series.
Before the 2009 season, Hamilton Jr. purchased a small portion of Rensi Motorsports and merged his own operation with the team, forming the new Rensi-Hamilton Racing operation. The #25 team lacked the sponsorship to run Hamilton Jr., and he subsequently drove Randy MacDonald's #81 Dodge for a limited schedule. Hamilton Jr. returned to the Truck Series in 2010 for Rick Ware and also ran at Nashville Superspeedway in 2011 with Ware in their #1 truck.
After two years away from major-league racing, Hamilton returned to the track in 2014, signing with Carter 2 Motorsports to drive the team's No. 40 Dodge full-time in the ARCA Racing Series; however before his first race with the team, he was released. In 2015, Bobby resigned with Carter 2 Motorsports to compete in the 2015 ARCA Race season,
and after the third race, Nashville, Bobby is seventh in Driver Championship points.
Hamilton replaced his father in 2006 as co-host of "The Driver's Zone" on WGFX 104.5 The Zone in Nashville with Liz Hackett, the remarried widow of Davey Allison, who uses her first husband's surname on the radio show.
Hamilton and wife Stephanie own the Courthouse Cafe in Springfield, Tennessee.
In December 2009, Hamilton purchsased Highland Rim Speedway, located in Ridgetop, Tennessee; the track was where he had competed in his first race. In late 2010, Hamilton was accused of pulling a gun on a competitor at the track during a dispute; Hamilton stated he legally possessed the weapon and believed he was being threatened. No charges were filed in the case. In April 2011, Hamilton and fellow driver Chad Chaffin acquired a two-year contract for the rights to operate Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tennessee. In November 2011, however, they were found by the Nashville State Fair to be in default on their obligations, and in April 2012, Hamilton was named in a lawsuit by Nashville for unpaid obligations related to the contract. Hamilton had declared bankruptcy that January, and the Highland Rim track was sold at public auction in February.
Hamilton currently resides in White House, Tennessee, with his wife Stephanie and a daughter.
Notes and references
- "Bobby Hamilton Racing Announces New Management Team At Daytona". Bobby Hamilton Racing. February 15, 2007. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Inabinett, Mark (February 27, 2014). "Former NASCAR driver returning to racing at ARCA Mobile 200". Press-Register. Mobile, AL. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "Carter 2 Motorsports Ends Relationship with Bobby Hamilton Jr.". Catchfence.com. March 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Bobby Hamilton Jr. buys Tennessee track". The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, NC. December 4, 2009. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Bromberg, Nick (November 30, 2010). "Bobby Hamilton Jr. in dispute involving a gun at his short track". From the Marbles. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "Report: Hamilton Jr. pulls gun in dispute". Fox Sports. November 30, 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Caraviello, David (April 23, 2011). "For original Nashville track, race now is one for survival". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Garisson, Joey (November 1, 2011). "Fair board to consider new racing operators after contract breach". The City Paper. Nashville, TN. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Garrison, Joey (April 9, 2012). "Ex-fairgrounds racing operator 'blindsided' by Metro lawsuit". The City Paper. Nashville, TN. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "Bobby Hamilton Jr. files for bankruptcy". CBS Sports. January 11, 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Miller, Eric (February 3, 2012). "Highland Rim Speedway sold in foreclosure auction". Robertson County Times. Springfield, TN. Retrieved 2014-02-28.