Allegations continue to be made against former NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. following the claims made by ARCA drivers Kevin Hinckle and Cassie Gannis in August. Both drivers are pursuing legal action against Hamilton, with Hinckle and Gannis both filing breach of contract lawsuits.
Hamilton’s former partner at Hamilton-Hughes Racing, Jack Hughes, also came forward with allegations leveled towards the 38-year-old driver.
Beginning in 2015, Hughes said he had agreed to rent Roger Carter his equipment for his Carter 2 Motorsports organization, the team that Hamilton ran 10 events for in 2015. After Carter’s checks to Hughes for his equipment kept bouncing, Hughes took a trip to the ARCA event at Chicagoland to collect the money from Carter and to see what was going on. Hughes stated that it was at this meeting to receive money that Carter owed Hughes, that he first came in contact with Hamilton.
Shortly afterward when Carter was arrested in August of 2015 for identity theft, forgery of instrument, and misdemeanor larceny, Hughes was notified by Carter’s landlord in North Carolina that Carter was being evicted. Hughes traveled to Carter’s shop to pick up his equipment, including cars, hauler, semi, etc. Around this time Hughes stated that he was contacted by a former employee of Carter’s named Craig Gottfried, who said that he and Hamilton were forming a new team, before asking Hughes if they could use his equipment. According to Hughes, they offered to let him store his equipment in Hamilton’s Springfield, Tennessee race shop until things were better sorted out.
In all, Hughes took four cars and a late model, a semi, a hauler, and some spare parts to Hamilton’s shop. Afterward, Hamilton asked Hughes about possibly partnering up to form a new team, whereas Hughes said he would think about it.
Soon after, Hamilton signed a lease on another building in Russellville, Kentucky, and proceeded to move the team to that shop. Hamilton asked Hughes if he could use his speedway chassis to test at Daytona in January. According to Hughes, he agreed, telling Hamilton that if the car was wrecked that he (Hamilton) was responsible for repairs. After the test, Hughes was asked by Hamilton to assess a value of his equipment to show a dollar amount to what he was bringing to the table. Hamilton was asked the same in return, but according to Hughes he never received anything in return from him.
Hughes further stated that not long afterward he received phone calls from drivers Kevin Hinckle and Kevin Rutherford, both stating their contracts were canceled for various reasons. At this time Hughes became suspicious, following a phone call from Hinckle shortly before Daytona. Hughes was shown that on the entry list, the No. 64 car (owned by Hughes) had Chuck Adcock (Hamilton’s brother-in-law) listed as the owner instead of Hughes, even though Hughes owned the points to the No. 64 and two chassis that he owned were being used in the race.
After hearing from other drivers regarding their agreements being canceled for various reasons as well as seeing how none of the HHR entries made the race at Daytona, Hughes decided to meet with Hamilton in his race shop, face-to-face. According to Hughes, following the meeting, where the two went over the contracts that Hamilton signed with the drivers, he decided to part ways with Hamilton and take his equipment back.
On March 30 Hughes sent a formal letter to Hamilton announcing he was ending his partnership. The letter detailed why with reasons including:
- Retaining employees against Hughes’s wishes, including one individual who had “jumped his parole requirements and shouldn’t have been working for the team.”
- Zero access to the financial figures including monies from sponsor Makeover Mortgage despite asking for access to the information.
- No way of breaking even or even making money for the team after reviewing the then-current driver contracts.
Hamilton allegedly asked Hughes if he could keep the equipment until after the Talladega event at the end of April. During that time, according to Hughes, Hamilton took Hughes’s equipment to Nashville with driver Eric Caudell, where the car received extensive damage to the rear end.
Instead of bringing back the equipment after Talladega like he was asked, Hughes said that Hamilton didn’t even contact him until the middle of May when he texted Hughes saying that a man named “Tom,” was bringing his equipment back in his semi and hauler. According to Hughes, Hamilton would never call, just kept texting him instead with reasons for not coming ranging from a flat tire to being pulled over by the police. After hearing this last reasoning, Hughes allegedly contacted the Illinois State Police only to find out his semi was never pulled over.
When Hughes went down to his shop to pick up his equipment himself, he found it had been sabotaged. His rig had a flat tire, the battery box was riveted shut, the batteries were dead, his generator was missing, and two of his cars were stripped clean, far from the condition they were in when he first let Bobby use them.
On July 21 Hughes received a text from Hamilton to go pick up his stuff because he (Hamilton) was being evicted from the Russellville shop and everything needed to be removed from the property. According to Hughes, upon arriving he found his rig with three of his cars in varying forms of condition. One car was stripped entirely of its body, another was heavily damaged, and one was a speedway car. While the hauler was left unlocked the semi was locked, with the keys being nowhere in sight with Hamilton apparently away on a float trip.
Hughes contacted the sheriff and the landlord, both of whom were able to work things out with him so he would have time to get his equipment moved. After several calls and texts, the keys reappeared in the semi, according to Hughes, and he was able to take it back. Despite getting his semi and hauler back with three of the cars as well, Hughes alleges he didn’t get everything back, as Hamilton traded in the late model for a welder, without permission from Hughes.
However, Hamilton is adamant that there is more to the story, saying that Hughes wasn’t as involved as he claimed. SpeedwayMedia.com spoke with Hamilton on September 25 via telephone.
Following the incident with Carter 2 Motorsports Hamilton stated that Hughes contacted him and said that he wanted to be a part of Hamilton’s race team, offering him usage of three race cars and a transporter as well. Hamilton stated that Hughes then contacted him and wanted to redo the team name to Hamilton-Hughes Racing, saying that he wanted to go “50/50” with the team.
“When it came down to it, it was something we should have left quiet,” said Hamilton. “Just kinda bought the stuff from him or whatever, because we never got anything from him. He never contributed. All he wanted to do was come to the shop, hire or fire people, or tell us what we needed to do. He had a couple of people who he wanted to fire right off and I told him, I said ‘Hey, while you’re in Chicago, we’re here. You can’t just roll up and tell them to get the hell out of the building because you don’t like them.'”
Hamilton stated that he had a conversation with Hughes at one point after Hughes claimed to see something on one of the employee’s Facebook profiles, where afterward Hughes wanted to remove the employee.
“I told him, ‘Look, their Facebook is their own stuff. Unless they’re saying something that’s damaging to the team.’ He said, ‘Well, what they’re doing, what if somebody gets hurt or whatever?’ I said, ‘What do you think that all the insurance is for? These guys are having fun, they’re getting stuff done. Leave it alone.'”
Hamilton stated that it got to a point where Hughes came down wanting to remove another employee and Hamilton allegedly told him that when he started paying his half then they would start worrying about what to do with people. Hamilton claims that at that point Hughes had yet to pay anything. They had gone to buy a motor together at one point and Hughes had split the cost for the engine with Hamilton and that was it, according to Hamilton. Hamilton claims that Hughes had only put in a total of $4,000 into the place.
Hamilton also alleged that every time Hughes would come down to go do something, such as whenever Hamilton needed something picked up in North Carolina, Hughes would offer to do it for him. However, Hamilton stated that he would have to pay for gas, lodging, and food during Hughes’s trip.
Hamilton further alleged that Hughes would voice concern over matters such as team staff and the shop’s electric bill despite both matters being covered, and Hamilton says that he finally told Hughes that until he did his part for the team, he should stay out of the shop. Hamilton said he told Hughes this because when Hughes arrived at the shop, people were wanting to go home, people weren’t wanting to be a part of the team, and that Hughes wasn’t liked at the shop.
Hamilton also said that following their split, when Hughes began stating that Hamilton was keeping his equipment, Hamilton told Hughes to send receipts of everything that he owned or bought for the team so they could settle any claims disputes.
“If Jack had all this stuff, why didn’t he do his own thing?” asked Hamilton. “He could do it. But bottom line is he didn’t have anything because he wanted to get with someone no different from Roger Carter. Carter had all this stuff. Only difference was Roger was a smart enough guy he’d let him come in and say he was part owner and this and that and try to run his shop. Prior to us, prior to Roger, he did it himself. He had a driver development program. So why did he need us? Because he didn’t have anything. He had junk that we fixed up. Ask anybody in the ARCA Series, everything was used and old so we had to fix it up.”
“It’s simple. You want a question about Jack Hughes, I can tell you one question to ask him that will put him in the dark and you won’t hear nothing else from him. Ask him to show you documents that show how much money he spent with the race team being 50/50 and he was part owner. And that would be the end of Jack Hughes.”
Hamilton also alleged that despite Hughes claiming that Hamilton was using the equipment beyond what was agreed, Hughes, in fact, didn’t have anything to take from the shop. Once the cars were loaded up, there was nothing else for Hughes to take besides the cars and transporter. According to Hamilton, once the cars were locked in the shop, he called Hughes and told him to come and get his stuff. However, Hamilton stated that Hughes took a while to get his stuff because he said that he needed someone to come with him and assist in picking up his property because he was driving his car.
“It’s all one big circus, dealing with him,” said Hamilton. “It was unpredictable, just someone just wanting to get their name out there, because if he had all this stuff that we supposedly took, why did he need us?”