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NHRA: Tom Hammond's Pro Stock Program Over for 1998

3 October 1998

TOM HAMMONDS, WINNEBAGO/MAC TOOLS/KENDALL CAMARO Z28, announced this week that he will not compete in the Pro Stock category for the remainder of the season. Hammonds, most recently a power forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves' basketball team, had planned to return to the court after the Pioneer Keystone Nationals in Reading, Pa., two weeks ago. But because of the NBA lockout he found himself available to continue racing. Following motor problems in Reading, Hammonds stated he would check his finances and see if he had enough to rework the engine and continue racing. He's done that and found that he has the funds necessary to continue, but does not have the crew to complete the season. Since Reading was originally to be the last race of his limited 1998 season, crew members Charles Burnett (clutch) and Tim Roberts (engine) were scheduled to return to their "real" jobs: Burnett as a mechanic at a dealership and Roberts as owner of a speed shop.

"I could have gotten by if only one of them, maybe Tim, had gone back," says Hammonds. "I could probably have done pretty good motor maintenance myself. I could have had another guy to do the clutch, but for my own peace of mind I decided against it. For me to be comfortable and to be able to focus on my driving, I didn't think it was such a good idea right now.

"I do have enough budget to run this race," he added. "We took the motor back and got it tuned up and feel confident that the motor would run good. If we ran the race here in Topeka and if things had gone well enough and we had qualified and done well I was just going to keep running throughout the rest of the season."

ON THE NBA LOCKOUT: "They have already cancelled some pre-season games and moved training camp back. At this point it doesn't look too good."

ON COMPETING IN PRO STOCK IN 1999: "It depends on how the lockout and the basketball season goes. I am looking forward to the day when I can go out there and compete for an NHRA championship. I think at this time I don't think we have the team in quite the order that we need to be in. But eventually we will get there."

Note: Tom entered eight events this year, beginning with the Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Columbus, Ohio in June. He qualified in two of those events, and has won two rounds.