Racecar Driver Davey Hamilton Offers Life, Lubrication Lessons

IndyCar Series driver Davey Hamilton ranks as one of the all-time great stories in all of motorsport. As a second-generation racer who was inspired by his father, Ken, Hamilton won championships in Super Modifieds and the famed Copper World Classic three times while competing in the IZOD IndyCar Series from 1996 to 2001.

However, his life was changed forever after a crash at Texas Motor Speedway in which he nearly lost his feet and legs. After more than 20 operations and two years of rehabilitation, Hamilton returned to IndyCar racing and qualified for the 2007 Indianapolis 500, where he posted an impressive ninth-place finish. He now provides driver analysis for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

In February 2009, Hamilton formed a Firestone Indy Lights team with Kingdom Racing. Brandon Wagner serves as the team’s driver and scored the team’s first win in 2010.

On May 1st, Hamilton delivered the keynote address at Reliable Plant 2012, discussing how he fought his way back to the cockpit after almost six years away from racing. His experience provided inspiration and motivation for anyone looking to race back from adversity.

In a recent interview with Machinery Lubrication, Hamilton explained the roles lubrication and oil analysis play in racing.

Did You Know?

Davey Hamilton has competed in more than 50 IndyCar Series events, including 11 Indianapolis 500s where he has finished as high as fourth.

Q Do you recall an instance when good lubrication or bad lubrication directly influenced the outcome of a race?

A More so failure of lubrication has affected the outcome of a race due to not being able to finish the race, and yes, I have had and have seen that happen many times.

Q How important is the analysis of used motor oils to monitoring and optimizing engine performance/health in motor sports?

A Our teams analyze the oil constantly to make sure they are getting the least friction and wear but the best performance.

Q Do race teams today give much importance to the type and brand of lubricants they use?

A Not so much the brand but the quality.

Q Are aftermarket additives used with motor oils in the racing industry?

A Some teams do use additives if the series allows.

Q Do you have any personal preference of a motor oil type and brand that you use in your automobiles?

A I really do not have a preference, but we are always looking for the best.

Q Can you share any particular experience you’ve had regarding lubricants or lubrication in the racing industry?

A I have always tried to research oil to get an advantage over the next guy. I have succeeded and have also failed by overworking the lubricants.

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