|Bobby Hamilton struggled in 2001 to find the consistency he needed
to back up a strong start to the season, but he did manage to win his
fourth career race when he captured the Talladega 500 at Talladega
Hamilton ended up with three top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
While he had nine finishes of 30th or worse he also had no DNFs,
which enabled him to finish 18th in the standings, with a career high
in winnings of $2,527,310. That was an improvement of 12 spots in
the standings over 2000, when he had a series leading 11 DNFs.
Hamilton was successful in revitalizing a career that got off track a bit
in 2000, his final tour in a three-year stint with Morgan-McClure
Motorsports. His victory in his 13th season was his first since 1998,
after he scored single victories in each of the three previous seasons.
Hamilton's own motorsports regime, located outside his hometown of
Nashville, Tenn., continued to flourish. His two-truck Craftsman Truck
Series team led by Joe Ruttman contended for the championship
before Ruttman finished third and for the second straight year
Hamilton won a truck race and a Bud Pole in a "guest ride."
In 2001, Hamilton moved to Andy Petree Racing's two-car team after
successive three-year stints with Petty Enterprises and MMM, to drive
the No. 55 Chevrolet. He hopes to recapture the strength he had with
the Pettys, where he scored his career best ninth place in the point
standings in 1996, then followed up with a 10th place effort for MMM
Hamilton is a former Nashville Speedway USA track champion. His big
break came when he beat Darrell Waltrip, Sterling Marlin and Bill Elliott
in a special four-car "Superstar Showdown" event at Nashville in 1988.
When Rick Hendrick was seeking a driver for the "movie cars" for the
Paramount film "Days of Thunder" with Tom Cruise, Waltrip
recommended Hamilton. He qualified fifth at Phoenix in a movie car
and ran in the top-10 in the race.
His first full season at the Winston Cup level was 1991, when he
edged Ted Musgrave for the NWCS Rookie of the Year title.
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