Hamilton Jr. Tops 189 mph in Wednesday Test
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Despite the frigid temperatures, Busch Series driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and his No. 25 Team Marines Ford heated things up in Atlanta on Wednesday, posting a fast lap of 189.474 mph (29.26 seconds) around the 1.54-mile quad-oval track.
That speed is just a tick off the track¿s Busch Series record of 191.661 (28.96 seconds) set by Ryan Newman in March 2001.
¿With these new tires, we are definitely going a lot faster,¿ Hamilton Jr. said of the new tire Goodyear created for competition in 2004. ¿We¿re not in full race trim, we¿re not taped up, and we¿re still going faster than we did last fall. Oh yeah, that track record is going to fall.¿
The new tire is going to change more than speeds, though ¿ it¿s also going to change strategy.
¿If we had to line up and go race right now, the Busch guys couldn¿t race on three sets ¿ and that¿s our rule,¿ Team Rensi Crew Chief Harold Holly said. ¿This will change things quite a bit, probably make it a tire management game.¿
Those changes will likely be evident by the time Hamilton and his team return to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Oct. 30 Aaron¿s 312. But in the meantime, they¿re collecting information that will help them all year long.
Team Rensi Crew chief Harold Holly said he prefers to test at Atlanta at the beginning of the year, setting up a baseline for his car while at the fastest track in the circuit.
¿If we can get comfortable here in Atlanta, get the right aero balance, then we¿ll be OK wherever we go,¿ Holly said. ¿Atlanta¿s the perfect place to test that stuff, because you¿re going so fast. Whenever we need to test new cars, we come to Atlanta. That gives us a platform to work from all year long, and then we just adjust to the different speeds and banking of that week¿s particular track.
Hamilton Jr. said he will be doing double duty when he returns to Atlanta in the fall, competing in both the Oct. 30 Aaron¿s 312 Busch Series race and the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 NEXTEL Cup race.