Team Marines takes fourth win of season
By Compiled by Gunnery Sergeant J.D. Edwards and Team Rensi Motorsports
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | November 03, 2003
MARINE CORPS RECRUITING COMMAND, Va. --
It was going to take a lot more than rain to stop Bobby Hamilton Jr., driver of the No. 25 Team Marines Ford, and Team Marine Racing, from sailing to his fourth victory of the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series.
Hamilton Jr., climbed to within 125 points of the series points leader, Scott Riggs, as he took his team to victory lane in the rain shortened Bashas? Supermarkets 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., November 1.
Although the race started at it's scheduled time, the first four laps of the race were run under caution as a light rain continued to fall onto the one-mile track, which forced NASCAR officials to temporarily halt the race. Track crewmembers worked for two and a half hours drying the track so the race could resume.
Once the race restarted, Hamilton Jr. quickly moved into second place and assumed the mission of chasing down the leader. He finally reached and passed the leader, Kevin Harvick, a Winston Cup Series driver, on lap 60. Hamilton Jr., maintained the lead until lap 101 when Harvick returned to the lead.
On lap 102 the caution flag waved because of an accident. The Team Marines pit crew quickly prepared for their final stop and adjustments of the day. When the car came into the pits, the team came through with a lightening fast pit stop that put Hamilton Jr. back in the lead.
Hamilton Jr. never looked back and maintained the lead to the final caution that came on lap 176 because of rain. While darkness was quickly setting in and rain continued to fall, NASCAR officials were forced to draw the race to a close on lap 181.
While the yellow and checkered flags waved, Hamilton Jr. not only claimed the win; he also took the lead for the most wins of any driver in the Busch Series this year.
"The Team Marines Ford stayed under me all day long," Hamilton, Jr., said. "Then the Team Marines Pit Crew put us out front with the awesome pit stop and I just drove it on cruise control from there. The pit crew won this race for me today, they were awesome!"
Hamilton Jr., heads into the next-to-last race of the season 6th in the points standings. The next race is this Saturday at the North Carolina Speedway at 1:00 p.m. EDT. TNT and Motor Racing Network are scheduled to provide live coverage of the event.