|Bobby Hillin, Jr., who races the Jasper Motor Sports/Federal Mogul
#77 car in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series, got his start in racing
at age 13 driving mini-stocks at Abilene (Texas) Speedway. He
then graduated to the 'Major League' of driving in 1982 by entering
the Winston Cup Series at age 17 at North Wilkesboro, and in 1986
at age 22, he won his first race at Talladega and became the youngest
driver in NASCAR history to win at a Superspeedway.
Hillin proved he had talent as a driver and did so at a very young age, but he soon found that it takes more than driving talent to compete and win consistently at the Winston Cup level... It takes Teamwork. From Monday all the way up to the race on Sunday it must be a unified team effort to prepare the car, qualify to race, and then race-and if everything on the car isn't perfect, and if everyone from the owners to the pit crew isn't clicking, then the going is bound to be tough... And the going has been tough for Bobby Hillin, Jr.
Hillin finished 37th in the Winston Cup point's race in 1996, and with off-season improvements to the team and to the car, hopes were high for a good season in 1997. But thus far things have not been better for the Jasper Motor Sports/Federal Mogul #77 car... things have been worse. This season the #77 car has finished no better than 33rd, and has missed two out of the eight races. It's been one disaster after another with floormats burning up, oil valves plugged, engines blown, and failures to qualify. Hillin and the #77 car have pretty much hit a brick wall with every effort... But nobody is throwing in the towel yet.
There has been one bright spot which lends hope... In the ninth race of the season at Talladega, where HIllin won his first and only race, the #77 car qualified in the #2 position and turned a lot of heads doing so. "I really wanted the pole, not for myself, but for the team," Hillin said. "It is so hard to prepare the car for a superpeedway race and the guys have put out such an effort. This is a great accomplishment and I think it will help uplift the team." Can the team turn things around this season?... Only racing will tell.
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Clay B. Stapleford
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