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Old 01-08-2007, 03:01 PM
Louis Cypher Louis Cypher is offline
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Default NASCAR Driver Bobby Hamilton Dies at 49

By TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

January 8, 2007, 3:59 AM EST

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Bobby Hamilton paid his early bills driving a wrecker, got his NASCAR break driving a car used in "Days of Thunder" and won the 2004 Craftsman Truck championship in his own truck.

Following his death Sunday of cancer at the age of 49, Hamilton was remembered for his love of the sport, kindness and blue-collar persona.

Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, a fellow Tennessee native, said Sunday night that a lot of people didn't get to know Hamilton well, but that the driver who started with nothing and never had the best equipment would be missed.

"He would give you the shirt off his back, and he helped me out a lot through the years," Marlin said.

Born in Nashville in 1957, Hamilton got his start on local tracks and qualified fifth in his first Cup race at Phoenix in 1989 with a car used in the movie "Days of Thunder." He drove in all of NASCAR's top three divisions, making 371 Cup starts and winning four races in what is now the Nextel Cup series, including the 2001 Talladega 500.

The death was shocking to people who had not seen him recently. His racing team announced only last month that Ken Schrader would drive its truck this season.

"NASCAR is saddened by the passing of Bobby Hamilton," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of communications. "Bobby was a great competitor, dedicated team owner and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the Hamilton family."

Hamilton won 10 times in the truck series, including four victories in 2004 when he became the first owner-driver to win a NASCAR series title since the late Alan Kulwicki won the Winston Cup championship in 1992.

"I think at the end of the Cup deal, he was burnt out on the system. But he always had a good vision," Marlin said. "He always wanted to do things his own way, so he became his own boss, got into trucks, and it worked out well for him."

Hamilton was diagnosed in February with head and neck cancer. A malignant growth was found when swelling from dental surgery did not go down.

He raced in the first three truck races of the season, with a best finish of 14th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, before turning over the wheel to his son, Bobby Hamilton Jr. The senior Hamilton then started chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Liz Allison, widow of former NASCAR star Davey Allison, co-hosted a local radio show with Hamilton that started in January 2006.

"The thing I loved about Bobby Sr. so much is that he treated everybody the same. It didn't matter if you were one of the drivers he competed against or a fan he'd never laid eyes on before," Allison said.

"He didn't have a pretentious bone in his body. I think that's why people were drawn to him. He was just very real and had a way of relating to everyone."

His son also replaced him on the radio show to fulfill his obligation.

By August, he returned to work at Bobby Hamilton Racing in Mount Juliet, about 20 miles east of Nashville. It was his fourth race shop, a facility lacking for nothing and built to prove he could stay in Tennessee and compete in a place he kept so clean he often walked around barefoot.

Doctors indicated his CAT scans looked good. But microscopic cancer cells remained on the right side of his neck.

"Cancer is an ongoing battle, and once you are diagnosed you always live with the thought of the disease in your body," Hamilton said in an article posted on NASCAR's Web site last month. "It is the worst thing you could ever imagine."

That was about as much as Hamilton shared with anyone outside his family and close friends.

"I love what I do; I love this business," he said in March 2006 when disclosing he had cancer. "NASCAR has been good to me, and I just don't feel comfortable when I am not around it."

Hamilton's Nextel Cup wins, in addition to Talladega, came at Phoenix, Rockingham and Martinsville. His best season was in 1996 when he finished ninth in the season standings. He won his first Cup race that year, at Phoenix.

Hamilton drove in the top-level NASCAR series from 1989-05, earning $14.3 million and racing to 20 top-five finishes.

He became a full-time driver-owner in the truck series in 2003.

Another NASCAR favorite, 1973 Winston Cup champion Benny Parsons, was diagnosed with cancer in his left lung in July. He was checked into intensive care last week at a North Carolina hospital.

In addition to Bobby Jr., Hamilton is survived by wife Lori and a granddaughter.
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:39 PM
Chillin-the-Most Chillin-the-Most is offline
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Default NASCAR Driver Bobby Hamilton Dies at 49

I remember him being quoted he could make more money by betting on NASCAR than running well. That and him being the fun loving good ole boy always endeared him to me. Not to mention he drove for Days of Thunder.
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Old 01-11-2007, 11:32 PM
cecil cecil is offline
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Default NASCAR Driver Bobby Hamilton Dies at 49

He was great.
I remember him running at daytona and he told everyone he was going to stay in the back to avoid wrecks. With like 30 laps to go, still like 30th the announcers were laughing at him. They said he had no chance of winning. He drove up and won it at the last second in a photo...
He was what was good about Nascar, you don't see it in many of the new guys.

RIP
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:03 PM
LIONS_B.C._24 LIONS_B.C._24 is offline
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I hate to see a great racer go and Benny dying a nascar past champ and a great announcer
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Old 01-23-2007, 10:07 AM
cecil cecil is offline
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Same here Lions, I just can't believe it...

RIP Benny
Bobby
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