Sunday, July 13, 2003

Hamilton unable to match son


Craftsman Truck Built Ford Tough 225 notebook

By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SPARTA, Ky. - Hours after his son, Bobby Jr., overpowered the Busch Series Tropicana Twister 300 field in Chicago, Bobby Hamilton sped to his own lead at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday.

At the Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225, Hamilton started in second place but passed polesitter Jon Wood at the starting line for the lead.

The driver of the Square D Dodge maintained his lead for 12 laps before Jason Leffler, of Team ASE, passed him on the second turn of lap 12.

Hamilton Jr. won his third Busch series race after leading 186 of the 200 laps at Chicagoland Speedway. His father, a former Winston Cup driver in his first full season with the Craftsman Truck Series, finished 18th.

It was Hamilton's first start in Kentucky. Hamilton Jr. took the Busch Series Meijer 300 last month at the Speedway.

SKINNER RETURNS: Mike Skinner, a former Winston Cup driver for Morgan McClure Motorsports, raced in his first Craftsman Truck Series race since 1998 and finished 13th.

Skinner qualified 10th and managed to take the lead on lap 38. But he lost the advantage three laps later to Travis Kvapil.

Skinner, part of No. 15 Vokal racing team, won the inaugural truck championship in 1995. He was released by Morgan McClure this year after failing to finish in the top 10 in 14 Winston Cup starts this season.

EARLY CAUTIONS: The race got off to a slow start with two cautions in the first 15 laps.

On lap two, Bill Lester spun out on the second turn and made contact with Chris Horn. Both cars were able to continue the race. Lester finished 12th; Horn came in 14th.

The first serious crash came on lap 15 when Trevor Boys was forced out early when he made contact with Jerry Hill.

"(Tina Gordon) got into the 66 (Boys) and spun it, and I made contact with the 66," Hill said.

Hill also was forced to drop out.

EARLY EXITS: Brendan Gaughan of the Orleans Hotel Dodge said he has had only four engines in 14 years of racing. His need for a fifth motor came at the wrong time Saturday.

On lap 112, Gaughan blew his motor after leading 66 laps.

But Gaughan said he wasn't disappointed.

"We led the most laps, we kicked (butt) in the pits, and we were here to stomp on them," Gaughan said. "We had the best horsepower and the best truck tonight. We showed once again this team is in championship form."

Winner Carl Edwards moved into the lead when Gaughan left.

After a solid start through 52 laps, Chad Chaffin had to drop out when his Dickies Racing Dodge lost its motor. Chaffin, who started third, moved as high as second and was in third place when he was forced to exit down pit road.

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E-mail ckane@enquirer.com.




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