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Local Sports

Hamiltons, ‘King of Wing’ highlight weekend

Submitted Photo
Davey Hamilton Jr.
Submitted Photo Davey Hamilton Jr.

MORRIS – Davey Hamilton last ran in the Indianapolis 500 in 2011.

Since then, he has remained busy in the racing industry by racing occasionally, driving the two-seater IndyCar, working as an analyst on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network for their Indy 500 coverage, and co-owning the IndyCar entry of Simon Pagenaud, a recent winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Hamilton is also the head of the King of the Wing Series that will visit Grundy County Speedway on Saturday night, along with the STARS National Midgets.

Among those who who will be competing in the King of the Wing race at Grundy is Davey’s son, Davey Hamilton Jr., who races for a team owned by his father. Hamilton Jr. is the third generation of the great racing family to get behind the wheel.

Hamilton Sr.’s father, Ken, attempted to qualify for the Indy 500 twice and still competes at the short-track level as he has done for several decades. The Hamilton family has a strong lineage in racing that dates back many years and appears as if it will continue well into the future.

Davey Hamilton Sr., though, reigns as the one man who is the personification of the word “perseverance.”

From his humble beginnings as a supermodified driver on the short tracks of the upper Northwest of the U.S. to making it to the Indianapolis 500 and returning to racing after devastating leg injuries, Hamilton has shown that there isn’t a roadblock that can slow him down.

The native of Nampa, Idaho, who now makes his home in Jamestown, Ind. is a six-time winner of the supermodified portion of the prestigious Copper World Classic at the Phoenix International Raceway.

In 1991, Hamilton made his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the hope of making the field for the Indy 500. Unfortunately, a crash during rookie orientation prevented him from making a qualifying attempt. In his next two attempts to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1993 and 1995, he was never able to find the speed. Undeterred by these setbacks, in 1996 Hamilton got the big break he was looking for, a full-season IndyCar ride with A.J. Foyt in his legendary No. 14 car.

From 1996 to 2001, Hamilton made six consecutive starts in the Indy 500 with a best finish of fourth in 1998. He made 48 straight Indy Racing League starts with eight top-three finishes.

However, on June 9, 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway, his career came to a screeching halt. After another car blew its engine in front of him, Hamilton was caught in a wreck that sent his car careening into the outside wall, then got airborne and sliced the catch fence with the nose of his car.

Hamilton suffered serious leg injuries. The doctors who were treating him at the hospital were prepared to amputate both of his legs, but thankfully, his legs were able to be saved.

Nearly six years and 22 surgeries later, Hamilton was competing again at the Indy 500 in 2007. Not only was he competing, he was thriving. In his return to the race, Hamilton finished ninth. He went on to compete in the Indy 500 four more times from 2008 to 2011.

And now, fans at Grundy County Speedway will have the opportunity to see his son, Davey Jr., in action.

<subhead> Grundy weekend <subhead>

The packed holiday weekend of racing at Grundy County Speedway begins with a full program of stock-car racing Friday night, headlined by the third annual Magnabosco Memorial presented by the Phillips Family.

The event, in honor of long time racing enthusiasts, sponsors Tom and Karen Magnabosco, will feature a 70-lap main event for the Illinois Truck & Equipment super late models. Race time is 7p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors.

That will be followed by Davey Hamilton Jr. and the King of the Wing Sprint Car Shootout on Saturday night, with race time at 6:30. Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids, with kids 4-under free.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the Fair Time 200 4-cylinder Enduro with more than 50 cars expected will feature 200 laps of racing with the green flag set to drop at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors.

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