From staff reports
Bobby Hamilton has raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway plenty of times in the past, and he knows how much fun it can be.
But that doesn't mean he's ready to have a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race there n unlike most of his competitors.
"I hear all these guys moaning all the time about how they'd like to race here, and how it's so fast and great for racing," Hamilton said. "And don't get me wrong, it is all those things. But I don't want to lose our testing time here. We always like to leave an Atlanta test in our hip pocket for later in the season, when we need some time on a track like the otherbig ones coming up on our schedule - Texas, Las Vegas, California. I'm not ready to give that up yet."
That's why Hamilton and the others were at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Tuesday, taking advantage of a test booked by Dodge Racing for its Craftsman Truck teams. Hamilton, his Atlanta-area driver Bill Lester, his other driver Chad Chaffin and Ultra Motorsports driver Ted Musgrave also tested Tuesday, looking for ways to improve their aero package for upcoming races. The day's top speed went to Hamilton, who sped around thehigh-banked 1.54-mile oval is 31.63 seconds (175.277 mph). Because the Craftsman Truck Series doesn't have a race date at Atlanta, the test didn't count against the teams. Lester, however, said that unlike his boss, he would be willing to trade the free testing for a race date.
"I've always said I like fast tracks, and this is definitely a fast, fast track," Lester said. "I think if we raced here, it would be competitive, great racing, and it would be terrific for the fans. The Winston Cup races here are always great, and I think we could do the same thing with the trucks."Musgrave, currently third in the Craftsman Truck standings, agreed with Lester.
"I love this track - it's big, it's wide, you can run high, you canrun low," Musgrave said. "We would put on a pretty good show at this place."
Chaffin, currently 11th in points, thinks the trucks should race in Atlanta for another reason.
"We don't have much of a presence in this market, and we need to change that," Chaffin said. "Not only is the track extremely fast and competitive, but it just makes sense for us to be racing in this area. There are a lot of truck fans right now that have to travel too far to watch us race."