Sunday, July 13, 2003

Hamilton blazes to win in Tropicana

The Associated Press

JOLIET, Ill. - Bobby Hamilton Jr. overpowered the field, leading all but a few laps Saturday in winning the Tropicana Twister 300 NASCAR Busch Series race.

Hamilton Jr., the son of former Winston Cup star and current NASCAR Craftsman Truck competitor Bobby Hamilton, took the lead from pole-winner Casey Mears on the third lap and led 186 of 200 trips around the 1 1/2-mile Chicagoland Speedway oval, including the last 53.

Hamilton, 25, came up with his third Busch Series win and second in the series' last four races. He built a lead of almost 16 seconds - about a half-lap - before one of six caution flags in the race gave Winston Cup series leader Matt Kenseth one last shot at catching him.

But Hamilton's Team Rensi Motorsports Ford pulled away with ease on the restart on lap 166 and beat Kenseth's Taurus to the finish line by 4.503-seconds, about 20 car-lengths.

"I know you've got to try to make it sound interesting, but it just wasn't," Kenseth said. "It was like an old-fashioned whipping we took today. He had the whole field covered."

The first words out of Hamilton's mouth after climbing out of his car's cockpit with a huge smile on his face were: "Holy cow, can you believe that?"

Hamilton has finished in the top 10 in eight of his last 10 races.

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