Toni Montgomery · Thursday March 30, 2006
I’m feeling like the Truck Series has been neglected with all of the Buschwhacker talk, so I’m going to give them a visit this week. Specifically, I’d like to say a little bit about Bobby Hamilton and his situation, since I haven’t been in this space since his announcement of having cancer.
While Bobby has not always been one of my favorite drivers, I’m still sorry to hear about his condition, and wish him all the best on a speedy and full recovery. Just because someone is not your favorite on the track doesn’t mean you don’t care about them as an individual. Sometimes there are more important things in life than racing, and certainly I want all of the drivers to be safe and healthy whether I root for or against them on the track.
Of course, I also have to admit I’ll miss Bobby on the track too. It won’t be the same until he returns. He is one of the fiercest competitors in the Truck Series, as well as one of the smartest. Whenever the announcers note his truck moving up fast through the field on the outside in the closing laps, you know the race is about to get a lot more exciting. Hamilton is a cagey competitor that saves his equipment and sizes up his competition until it’s time to make the move. How many times has he come from nowhere to take the win when he didn’t even seem to be a factor?
I have this picture in my mind that Hamilton will approach his battle with cancer the same way he approaches a battle on the track. And I have no doubt who will come out the winner. Hamilton is one of the toughest drivers I’ve ever seen. In the meantime, his son, Bobby Jr., will keep the seat warm in the truck. These might not be the circumstances Bobby Sr. was hoping to see his son return to the fold under, but it’s still a great opportunity.
Bobby Sr. always refers to his race team, BHR, as Bobby Jr.’s inheritance. It served a dual purpose. It was there in case Bobby Jr. ever needed a ride, or just wanted to drive for the family team. Bobby Jr. never showed much more than passing interest in driving for the team before. After all, it’s a truck team, and he’d already moved beyond the Truck Series on his own. Still, his father insisted it be there just in case. I tend to think that was a father’s wisdom. While the son may have thought he had his future all planned and insured, the father had a lot more experience with the way the business really worked, and knew it would be best to keep the team there just in case. It never offended him that Bobby Jr. didn’t think he’d need the team. And as is so often the case with parents, in the end the father knew best. I’m guessing the son is happy that his father insisted on maintaining that safety net now.
If Bobby Jr. never needed to or wanted to drive for the truck team, that was OK with Bobby Sr. too. It was still Bobby Jr.’s inheritance. This is speculation on my part, but I’ve heard a bit about Bobby Sr.’s background. He came up hard, on his own at the age of 13, living on the street, living in a car, and with not much to call his own. He’s made no secret of the fact that he didn’t have much of an education, and was on a much different path in life at one time. He overcame it, and managed to build a pretty comfortable life for himself and his family. Most people with a background like that have one big priority in life. They will make sure their family is taken care of when they are gone. Namely, making sure there is some sort of inheritance. The fact that Bobby Jr. is grown and has established himself pretty well already is beside the point. It’s still important to Bobby Sr. that he leaves his son with something of value when he is gone.
Not that I believe he is going to be gone any time soon. I believe Bobby Jr. is just keeping his seat warm, as before you know it we will be hearing the announcers next season telling us that Bobby Hamilton Sr. is moving up fast through the field on the outside in the closing laps.
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