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BHR in first race after founder's death
Feb 16, 2007 12:00 am
Bobby Hamilton Racing begins life after its founder this week as drivers Ken Schrader and Chase Miller carry the BHR banner in the Chevy Silverado HD 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
It's the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start at Daytona for the veteran Schrader, who was signed by the late Bobby Hamilton last fall to drive the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge this season. He will drive 'Freak', which Joe Ruttman , Robert Pressley ['02] and Hamilton ['05] drove to Victory Lane at the legendary 2.5-mile track.
"I was thrilled last fall when Bobby asked me to drive his truck," Schrader said. "But then I started thinking about it and I said what in the world is he asking me to drive his truck for – he should be driving it by then? You always want to do good anyway, but now you want to do good for Bobby – and for all of the guys there – because most of them have been with him for a long time, and they've been through a lot of stuff recently.
"I think everyone here has something to prove and I'm going to be driving this truck every time that my Nextel Cup schedule will allow me to for as long as I can. I wish the circumstances were different, but I am going to make the best of this opportunity for Fastenal, BHR and Ken Schrader."
Qualifying is set for 5:30 p.m. CST tonight with the 100-lap race set for 6:30 Friday. Both events will be broadcast live on Speed.
"Testing at Daytona went extremely well under the circumstances of the days leading up to it," said Schrader, referring to the sessions which occured in the days following Hamilton's death last month after a year-long bout with cancer. "We had some work to do, but I know these guys have taken care of that. Before January I had never driven a truck down here and they're a handful in the draft. It's fun, but they're a handful. That big old body is what gives them all that drag, even if the front ends are getting slicker. It's like a big old block moving through the air.
"Friday night will be a lot of fun. If we can stay out of trouble I think we will be a contender in the final laps. A win Friday night would be great medicine for this team and one for the record books for sure."
Miller begins his second season with Mt. Juliet-based BHR as part of the Dodge Development Driver program. He made nine starts down the stretch last year in the No. 4. This is his first race at Daytona.
"I have dreamed about racing at Daytona all of my life," Miller said. "It is one of those prestigious places that everyone thinks about racing there. The only track I had to compare it to is Talladega. That place seems so smooth compared to how bumpy Daytona is. When I would drive around the track it was bouncing me around all over the place, especially in the turns. Being here for the first time is exciting and fun. It's a different atmosphere than the other race tracks on the circuit."