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Monday, July 6, 2015

Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Oldsmobile

    Bobby Hamilton's BGN career started off in 1988 @ Charlotte in the 1988 All-Pro 300, where he qualified his #16 Hamilton Racing Chevrolet in 30th, and finished 14th~  His Cup series debut came about in a strange way, when he was asked to drive one of the "movie cars" for the 1990 film Days of Thunder~ Hamilton drove the #51 Exxon Chevrolet, owned by Rick Hendrick, in the 1989 Autoworks 500 @ Phoenix, where he qualified 5th, and finished 32nd due to engine failure~

    Bobby ran 3 races in 1990, the second of those races (Mello Yello 500 @ Charlotte) being his first race in the Country Time #68 car, which at that time was a Pontiac, where he started in 8th, but finished 39th due to a crash on lap 102~ The owner of the Country Time car was Mark Smith, who named the team Tri-Star Motorsports~ In 1991, the team switched to Oldsmobile's, as Bobby ran for and won Rookie of the Year honors, beating out Ted Musgrave, and finishing the season out with 4 top 10's~

     Halfway through the 1992 season, the team switched to Ford's~ Bobby finished the season with a couple of top 10's @ Dover and Phoenix~ He ran 8 races for the team in 1993, before being released~ Following his release, Hamilton drove 1 race for Brad Atkins in the Budweiser 500 @ Dover, driving the #38 Holgate Toys Ford, netting him his only top 10 of the season, with an 8th place running~ He attempted 2 more races with the team, (Charlotte and Talladega) but failed to qualify, and parted ways with the team~ He ran 6 more races that season in Dick Moroso's #20 Fina Lube Ford, with a best finish of 19th in the Pepsi 400 @ Daytona~

                                                   Bobby Hamilton #68 custom hero card~
Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Lemonade Cars Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    The following 1994 season seemed to start out on the right foot, with Hamilton set to drive the #40 Kendall Motor Oil Pontiac owned by former Cup veteran Dick Brook and Felix Sabates, and Crew chiefed by Jeff Hammond, but it proved to be a fruitless season for the team, with Hamilton only posting 1 top 10 (Bristol) all season, along with failing to qualify for the Michigan race~ Bobby parted ways with the team at the end of the season and signed with Petty Motorsports to drive the famous #43 STP Pontiac for "The King" Richard Petty~

    Hamilton had a breakthrough season, netting 10 top 10's, and 4 top 5's, while finishing 14th in the points standings~ The next season was even better, with Bobby giving Petty Motorsports their first victory since the King's win in the 1984 Firecracker 400, by winning the Dura Lube 500 @ Phoenix~ He also had 2 poles (Martinsville, Michigan), and finished a career best 9th in the points standings~

    In 1997, Hamilton would pick up another win, this time in the AC Delco 400 @ Rockingham, while capturing poles @ Pocono and Phoenix, and netting 6 top 5's and 8 top 10's~ In 1998 he signed on to race for the #4 Kodak Max Film Chevrolet, fielded by Morgan-McClure, and won an emotional race @ Martinsville in the Goody's 500, from the pole~  The the final win of his Cup career came in the 2001 Talladega 500, the first super speedway race ran since the death of Dale Earnhardt two months earlier~ A physically and mentally exhausted Hamilton slumped to the ground after exiting his car, and was given oxygen from a tank before giving his post-race victory lane interview, while sitting on the ground, leaning against the drivers door~

                                           Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Oldsmobile~
Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Lemonade Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Neil Bonnett Rookie
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Lemonade Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Neil Bonnett Rookie

     I always enjoyed seeing this race car during its time on the track~ In addition to Hamilton.. Greg Sacks, Dorsey Schroeder and Loy Allen Jr. also ran this car during the 1993 season~ The bright yellow of the car shines like the sun, and looks quite nice among the rest of your collection, no matter how big or small~ Country Time was spending mega bucks back then on advertising~ You almost couldn't turn on the television without seeing one of their commercials.. or go to the store without seeing a Bobby Hamilton cardboard cut-out promoting the stuff~ I have to say it worked though, I probably drank more Country Time Lemonade back then during those 3 years, than I have in the entire rest of my life~

    Bobby's Cup career resulted in 371 races ran over 15 years, with 4 wins, 67 top 10's and 5 poles~  After his Cup Career days were mostly behind him, Bobby found success in the Truck Series, where he won the Series Championship in 2004~ In 102 races, spanning 11 years in the Truck Series, he had 10 wins, with 54 top 10's and 5 poles~ Sadly, Bobby passed away on January 7th, 2007 after a short battle with head and neck cancer~ His son, Bobby Hamilton Jr., also had a brief career in NASCAR, where he won 5 races, had 63 top 10's and 4 poles in 253 races in the BGN series~ Below are some videos featuring parts of Bobby's career~ Enjoy, and thanks for reading~

             **Bonus car** Bobby's pink #68 Country Time car from the 1993 Daytona 500~ Custom~
Bobby Hamilton #68 Country Time Oldsmobile pink NASCAR Racing Champions 1/64 diecast blog

                                                  Bobby's first Cup race (full race)~

                                                          All of Bobby's Cup wins~

                                                             Hamilton/Parsons tribute~

                                                Involved in crash in the Country Time car~

                                        1987 Bobby wins LMSC 50 lap feature race (#16 car)~

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