Missing Bobby as Trucks roll at Daytona

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

As the Craftsman Truck Series tests, it's a sad reminder that you won't meet very many people in this world as genuine as Bobby Hamilton. But I have a lot of really good memories.

McReynolds on Hamilton
I've read a lot of interesting quotes, and it's so strange because Bobby Hamilton's cancer was a lot like his character and demeanor. I was totally shocked when I had heard he passed away because I thought he was actually doing pretty well. But Hamilton kept his condition quiet. That's the way his racing career was. Whether he was winning or losing races and championships, he was always the same. If you look up the word "racer" in the dictionary, you would find Bobby Hamilton's name. He didn't care anything about the glory or being on TV. He just wanted to win a race. When it was over, he would go home and work on vehicle so he would have a shot at winning the next race.

Certainly he's going to be missed. He was missed this past year when he wasn't able to be around the race track. It's a wake-up call to all of us. Do the best job you can, but take time to spend with your family and friends. If you put it off, that opportunity may not come back. You may not have it. If you want to spend some time with your friends and family or make that phone call, do it now. The racing will be there when you come back.

Not only was I lucky enough to have been his crew chief — because he was a very talented driver — I also developed a friendship and a candid give-and-take that you hope for in a driver-crew chief relationship. When I saw Bobby, I always knew I was going to get a laugh and come away feeling enlightened because we had an opportunity to speak and spend some time together. He had the heart and determination to succeed, no matter what he did. It's really sad that his race against cancer wasn't one that he could win. A lot of folks said they didn't know he was so sick. That's typical Bobby Hamilton. He felt that his problems were his problems, and he was going to take care of them. He didn't want to burden the rest of the world with anything that went wrong in his life. He always believed that he could fix things himself. The saddest part is that he had started a new life with wife Lori, and his son is getting a second chance in the Busch Series along with his wife Stephanie and their child. It was very tough for the family to watch Bobby suffer like he did.

Saying goodbye at the start

While it's exciting to start a new season, it's also sad to note the NASCAR family's losses, like Hamilton, in only a matter of a few weeks. Lyn Jeffers worked behind the scenes and became a good friend, and another friend who worked with me on several race teams, Bruce Hayes, got killed in an accident during the holidays. Benny Parsons is not doing as well as we would like him to do. It makes you realize how fragile and precious life really is and how quickly it can get away from you when you least expect it.

Speed Mail Jeff Hammond

If you believe in prayer, pray for the families that have lost loved ones. That support really helps in tough times, and NASCAR fans are wonderful because they rally around and provide comfort in a lot of tough situations. I love the fact that we've got people who care that much about one another.

Starr to Circle Bar

Unfortunately, Red Horse Racing wasn't able to secure sponsorship for the No. 11 truck so David Starr will Rick Crawford's teammate at Circle Bar Racing. We may have something in the 12th hour, but David had to do what's best for him. We totally understand and wish him well. If we're able to find funding in the last hour, we'll just have to look for another driver.

FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led Darrell Waltrip to two of DW's three Winston Cup championships as his crew chief. They also teamed to win the 1989 Daytona 500.

For autographed copies of Jeff Hammond's book "Real Men Work in the Pits" plus magnets, hats and more, check out

For photos and appearances, visit Jeff's web site

Tagged: Rick Crawford

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