OSWEGO, N.Y. – Davey Hamilton raced to his first main event win on Saturday, May 11 since the devastating 2001 IndyCar crash at Texas Motor Speedway severed his legs and led to 21 operations to reconstruct his feet and legs and approximately one year in a wheelchair. Doctors once believed amputation may have been the best option.
But the resilient Hamilton made a full recovery and returned to Victory Lane a little over one week ago in the Novelis Supermodified main event at New York’s Oswego Speedway, where he fended off challengers throughout the season-opening 75-lap main event.
Hamilton won the race behind the wheel of a potent John Nicotra Racing No. 6 supermodified.
Nicotra formed a supermodified team in 2006, about five years after Hamilton’s Texas crash. The two had been good friends for years, and one of the main reasons Nicotra formed a super team was to give Hamilton the opportunity to once again race a competitive, top-quality supermodified at Oswego, a track at which he once won the 1997 International Classic 200 in a Mike Muldoon supermodified.
“I can remember being in Davey’s hospital room after the crash and a friend of ours called Davey,” Nicotra recalls. “Davey was medicated and out of it so I answered and we talked. And he asked if Davey was ever going to race again, and I said ‘yeah, I believe he will.’ And Davey kind of wakes up and says, ‘I’m not going to race again, I’m going to win again!’ I always remember that and that’s one of the reasons I formed this team – to give Davey a shot to win another race. Thanks to Otto and his crew for making this possible, the best in the business!”
Hamilton talked about his win in Oswego’s victory lane on May 11.
“Man, I feel like a kid again. It was awesome and the car was good tonight. Thanks to Johnny (Nictora) and Otto (Sitterly). Maybe we can come back and do this the same way for Classic. It has been a long time, since ’97, that I won that last Classic. I don’t get to race here as much as I would like to, but it’s great winning here at Oswego.”
Fittingly, Hamilton’s win came in May, the month that means so much to his career because of the famous Indianapolis 500, the race that helped shape his career. He started the Indy 500 11 times over his 56-race IndyCar career, finishing a career-best fourth in 1998.
Hamilton’s raced a variety of open-wheel machines since the Texas accident, including sprint cars, midgets, indoor three-quarter midgets and supers. He’s finished second a number of times since returning to the seat, but hadn’t won a race until a little over a week ago.
Hamilton is not sure when he’ll return to Oswego in 2013. Nicotra added, “Davey will be at Classic, of course, but other than that we’re not sure. If anything, it will be a 75-lapper.”
For more information on Nicotra Racing, visit NicotraRacing.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mike “Pinner” Johnson