Bobby Hamilton Jr. makes comeback bid in ARCA

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If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

That’s the case with Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Carter 2 Motorsports, who have joined forces for Hamilton to return to racing with a full-time effort on the ARCA Series in the 2015 season.

Hamilton and Carter 2 attempted to put together a similar deal for the 2014 season, but the effort fell short. Not this year, however.

MORE: Bobby Hamilton Jr. returns to racing, gets full-time ARCA ride for 2014

MORE:  Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s return to racing ends before it begins

“We are so excited to have (Hamilton) for the entire 2015 season,” team owner Roger Carter said in a team media release. “I have worked together with him in the 1990s, and he is so much fun to work with.

“We also believe he will be a great mentor to our younger drivers this season. He is a total asset to our team and the direction we are headed this season.”

Hamilton, who turned 37 on Jan. 8, has not competed in a NASCAR event since 2011, when he took part in one Camping World Truck Series event.

While he’s raced in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series, including 64 starts in the Sprint Cup Series and 37 in the Truck Series, Hamilton is known primarily for what he did in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 253 career starts, he earned five wins, as well as 30 top-5 and 63 top-10 finishes, along with four pole awards.

His last ARCA participation was in 1999.

According to The Tennessean newspaper, Hamilton has kept himself busy the last few years. In 2009, he bought Highland Rim Speedway and then in 2011 secured a two-year contract to run races at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.

Hamilton will drive the No. 97 Nitroforce Industries / Titan 1000 Dodge in the 2015 ARCA season. Carter 2 Motorsports is headquartered in Asheboro, N.C.

In addition to Hamilton’s ride, Carter 2 Motorsports will field two other full-time cars in the ARCA Series, the No. 40 and No. 95 Dodge Chargers, driven by a number of different drivers.

Prior to last year’s deal falling through, Hamilton looked forward to running in ARCA and made comments then that will apply to 2015, as well.

“I’ve always liked running in ARCA,” Hamilton said last year. “Plus, I love the old school car that’s run in the series. I’m also thrilled to be going back to some of the historic short-tracks that ARCA runs on.

“It’s a great series with a bunch of competitive teams. “I would love to finish in the top-10 in driver points for (2015). I want to run the series until I retire and hopefully score a bunch of victories along the way. ARCA brings my career full-circle. It’s sort of like going back home.”

Hamilton is the son of 2004 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, Bobby Hamilton Sr., who passed away following a year-long battle with cancer in 2007.

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Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”