Bobby Hamilton

April 22 in NASCAR: Brett Bodine claims lone Cup win amid controversy

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Brett Bodine, one of the three Bodine brothers who competed in the NASCAR Cup Series, made 480 career starts in Cup between 1986-03.

In that time, the New York native visited Victory Lane once.

And it wasn’t boring.

It came on April 22, 1990 at North Wilkesboro Speedway as Bodine, making his 80th career start, drove the No. 26 Quaker State Buick owned by NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein.

Bodine led 146 of 400 laps and won over Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, but not without some controversy.

The confusion began after a round of green flag pit stops that occurred from Lap 280-318. Bodine, who stopped on Lap 301, became the leader on Lap 318 when Waltrip was the last driver among the leaders to pit.

Then Kenny Wallace brought out the caution on Lap 321 when he spun in Turn 1.

But when the pace car pulled onto the track to pick up the field, he pulled in front of Earnhardt, not Bodine, who was running just ahead of Earnhardt.

NASCAR kept the race under caution for 18 laps as they attempted to sort out the scoring. They eventually told Earnhardt, Waltrip and other drivers who stayed out under the caution to get behind Bodine, who had pitted during the caution with other drivers.

Bodine would lead the final 62 green flag laps and take the checkered flag. Waltrip would protest, but NASCAR ruled Bodine the winner. The next day’s Charlotte Observer cited sources that said NASCAR officials admitted they made a “judgement call … one that can’t be changed.”

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Bodine said according to the Observer. “I didn’t think it would take this long and I got impatient. … Now I can say I know I can beat them ’cause I did it once before.”

Years later, Waltrip recalled petitioning Bill France Jr. to rule in his favor.

“I walk over to Bill and I’m almost on my knees,” Waltrip said. “‘Bill, he did not win this race and everybody in this garage area knows that.’ And Mr. France in his divine wisdom, took his cigarette out of his mouth, put his arm around me and he said, ‘DW, leave that boy alone. That’s the first race he’s ever won and you’re going to win a lot more races.”

Waltrip would fail to win in 1990, his first full-time season without a victory.

Also on this date:

1951: Marshall Teague won a race at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. In time trials for the race, driver Allen Heath flipped his car and suffered three broken ribs, a punctured lung and head injuries, resulting in him being taken to the hospital. According to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Beginning,” relief driver Chuck Meekins flipped on the second lap in almost the same spot as Heath and ended up in the same hospital room with Heath.

1962: Richard Petty won at Martinsville after leading 145 of 500 laps. The race marked the first start by Lee Petty since he suffered serious injuries in a crash in his Daytona 500 qualifying race in February 1961. He started and finished fifth. He would only make five more starts.

1979:  Richard Petty won at Martinsville, beating Buddy Baker for his first short-track win since 1975 at Bristol

2001: Bobby Hamilton won at Talladega for his fourth and final Cup Series victory. It was also the first Cup win for Andy Petree as an owner. Both his wins came in 2001.

April 20 in NASCAR: Bobby Hamilton gets Morgan–McClure’s last Cup win

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One year after missing out on a Martinsville win by one spot thanks to a dominating performance by Jeff Gordon, Bobby Hamilton turned the tables on the Cup Series field on April 20, 1998.

The 40-year-old Hamilton started from the pole, the fifth and final of his Cup career, and proceeded to lead 378 of 500 laps.

Hamilton led eight times, taking the top spot from John Andretti for good with 63 laps to go. He went on to win over Ted Musgrave.

The win turned out to be the 14th and final trip to a Cup Victory Lane for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which competed from 1983-2009.

“I’m tired … But I stayed up in that seat all day long though,” Hamilton told ESPN. “They built a brand new car a week-and-a-half ago. It was a wreck from here two years ago.”

Also on this date:

1958: After starting 20th in a field of 47 cars, Bob Welborn won at Martinsville for his third of nine career Cup Series wins. He won despite losing a tire with 30 laps to go when he had a four-lap lead, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Beginning.” Welborn stopped for new tires and returned to the track still the leader over Rex White. Welborn won by 12 car lengths.

1961: Cotton Owens won a 200-lap race at Greenville (S.C) Speedway by one lap over Ned Jarrett. Jarrett led the first 196 laps from the pole until he ran out of gas. “From now on whenever I come into the pits at any race, someone’s going to be there pouring gas into the tank (even) if it runs over every time,” Jarrett said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Superspeedway Boom.”

1980: Richard Petty led 327 laps, including the final 27, to win at North Wilkesboro Speedway for the 14th time in his career.

1997: Jeff Gordon led 431 of 500 laps to win at Martinsville over Bobby Hamilton for his second straight Martinsville victory.

 

Texas Cup race to be family affair for Joe Nemechek, John Hunter Nemechek

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FORT WORTH, Texas — For the first time since 2005, father and son will compete together in a Cup race.

Joe Nemechek and son John Hunter Nemechek will both drive in today’s race at Texas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Adding to the momentous family moment is that today will be John Hunter Nemechek’s first career Cup start.

“It’s pretty cool to compete against my dad in the top level of this sport,” John Hunter Nemechek said after qualifying 29th. “I feel like there’s not many other sports that father and sons can say that.”

Joe Nemechek, who qualified 38th, said racing with his son in Cup will be “a very, very special moment.”

John Hunter Nemechek, 22, has this opportunity because he’s running the season’s final three Cup races for Matt Tifft, who suffered a seizure before practice last weekend at Martinsville and is out the rest of the year (Tifft is scheduled to meet the media Sunday morning). Joe Nemechek, 54, got the call Wednesday to drive for Premium Motorsports this weekend.

The last time a father raced against his son in a Cup event was when Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Hamilton Jr. did so in the October 2005 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Joe Nemechek said he will keep track of where his son is on the track today but noted John Hunter Nemechek “could care less where I’m at.”

Not true, John Hunter Nemechek said.

“You know when you pass them,” he said.

Next week will be a big week for both of them. Joe Nemechek and John Hunter Nemechek are both scheduled to compete in the Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series races at ISM Raceway.

“It’s pretty neat to say we’re going to be racing all three,” John Hunter Nemechek said of next week.