Bobby Hamilton: A true <b><i><u>racer</u></i></b>

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

Folks, a few years ago, I hosted a TV show called Racers. We defined racers as anybody who would dedicate his life and pour all of his energy, effort, focus and heart into racing.

Remembering Bobby Hamilton
Bobby Hamilton's death is hitting the NASCAR world pretty hard. Darrell Waltrip and Ryan McGee are among those weighing in with their memories of the Nashville Fairgrounds legend. Tell us your memories..

More on Hamilton
  • Hamilton dies of cancer
  • Waltrip: My memories
  • McGee: He stayed true
  • Photos: Hamilton's career
  • Boards: Fans reminisce
  • Bobby Hamilton was a racer. Racing was his comfort zone and security blanket. That definition separates racers from folks that just race or are in racing. A lot of guys that I know are racers. Kenny Schrader is another example of a racer. Motor Racing Outreach paster Dale Beaver conducted Bobby's funeral ceremony, and he had a beautiful message. In the background, Brooks and Dunn sang "Believe", and Mercy Me sang "I Can Only Imagine". It ended with Elvis Presley version of "My Way". It was a very touching service. I was so pleased for Bobby's family, including Bobby Jr., Stephanie, Lori and Debbie. All of the crews from Bobby Hamilton Racing were there. I was really touched by the fact the SPEED Channel Craftsman Truck crew was there, including Phil Parsons. Can you imagine? Phil's brother is in critical condition over in Charlotte, and he took the time to come to Bobby Hamilton's funeral. So many people admired and respected Bobby because they knew the quantity of his work and quality of his work. That's the mark of a true champion. I knew he loved music. You cannot live in Nashville, grow up around there, race at the Fairgrounds and been exposed to country music entertainers the way we all are and not be a country music fan. But I didn't know that Bobby played the guitar, and he liked to sing. Back in the day, Bobby's grandfather, "Preacher" Hamilton, worked on country singer Marty Robbins' race car as Bobby ran around the garage. Marty gave the little kid a guitar, and Bobby learned how to play it. He liked to play his guitar and sing. I've been told that he was quite good so that was a little tidbit that I didn't know about him. I'm sure there are many, many other things about Bobby Hamilton that I didn't know even though I was one of his buddies. Earlier in the morning, Bobby's wife, Lori, told Stevie and me one of the most gratifying things that I heard all day. Bobby had been saved. He had dedicated his life to the Lord, and she had been reading "The Purpose Driven Life" to him. Hearing that he had been saved, knew the Lord and was going to go to heaven was like music to my ears and made me feel a whole lot better because I was very concerned. As the service ended, we walked out to his final resting place with Andy Petree, Bobby's car owner for his 2001 Talladega Cup win. Robbie Loomis, Bobby's crew chief for Cup wins at Martinsville and Phoenix, walked along to the monument, too. There were a lot of sweet memories. His sisters and all of the members of his family were so appreciative of everyone who paid respects to Bobby.

    Ask DW

    Bobby will be missed. I won't be able to go to the race track this year and not think about him when I watch the Craftsman Truck races. I won't be able to think about the No. 4 and the No. 18 trucks without thinking of Bobby. Kenny Schrader is going to drive for Bobby this year. Bless Kenny's heart. He's going to do all he can to help Bobby Hamilton Racing get through a tough time. That's the kind of friend that Kenny Schrader is. It's going to be interesting for Bobby Hamilton Racing and the family. With Bobby Jr. going to the Busch Series and Kenny in the truck, I have high hopes that they will have a good year. Somewhere along the way, maybe Kenny could even win a race and dedicate it to Bobby. That would be the most fitting thing that could happen. Bobby Hamilton was a great driver and great friend. Now, he's going to be in a better place with no more pain and suffering from cancer. God bless you, Bobby. We love you and we miss you

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