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Bobby Hamilton - NASCAR Career, Days of Thunder, Illness and Death

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Bobby Hamilton made his first NASCAR appearance in 1988 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Busch Series. He finished in 14th place while driving his own Chevrolet which was marked #16. He finished in 20th place in the following race at North Carolina Speedway. In 1989, he drove for FILMAR Racing in the Lighting & Fans Buick. Though he finished in 11th place, he managed to win his only career Busch race. Hamilton earned 11th place again in 1990, and was admitted into Winston Cup full-time. He competed in the Country Time Lemonade Oldsmobile competition, and managed to earn four finishes in the illustrious top-ten category. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1990. In 1994, he was brought into the SABCO Racing team.


In 1995, Hamilton was brought into Petty Enterprises where he drove a Pontiac. He made ten top-ten spots, moving up to 14th place in the finals. In 1996, he made it to 9th place and won his first race in Arizona. He also formed his own team. After winning in 1997, he left the team after falling to 16th place. He was brought into Morgan-McClure Motorsports the following year. He won their eighth race together. Hamilton ended the season in 10th place. In 1999, Hamilton scored ten more top-ten finishes. He was brought in to Andy Petree Racing in 2000. After winning his final race at Talladega that same year, Hamilton finished in 18th place. He made it to three top-tens in 2002, but left racing due to a broken shoulder later in the season.

Days of Thunder

Bobby Hamilton drove one of the cars in the 1990 movie, “Days of Thunder.” He qualified fifth in the movie car at a 1989 competition in Arizona. A replica of the car was driven in 2006 by a friend of Hamilton’s in support of Hamilton who was undergoing treatment for cancer. Hamilton was able to break into the Winston Cup through appearing in this film. Though the car was not deemed as competitive, Hamilton drove it successfully. In the movie, Bobby portrayed the character, “Rowdy Burns.”

Illness and Death

In March of 2006, Bobby Hamilton stated that he was diagnosed as having neck cancer. Hamilton competed in the Craftsman Truck Series just days before he began treatment for his illness. Bobby Hamilton would return to the track in Kentucky as the overseer to his team’s operations. Bobby Hamilton decided to hire Ken Schrader to drive his car for a number of the events and competitions during the 2007 schedule. Hamilton would eventually die of neck cancer in January of 2007 at his home in Tennessee, with his family at his side.

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