Progress evident as Hamilton's recovery continues


GLADEVILLE, Tenn. -- Bobby Hamilton worked in the garage
Saturday and tended to his three entries in the NASCAR Craftsman
Truck Series Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway.

It was the latest step in recovery from head and neck cancer for
the 2004 truck series champion.

Hamilton was diagnosed with the disease in February and has not
raced since March 5, shortly before undergoing treatment that ended
last month.

"I'm here to watch the race and I feel great," he said in a
pre-race news conference.

Hamilton's voice was noticeably weak, one of many harsh side
effects, according to his oncologist, Barbara Murphy of Vanderbilt

"Bobby has been through aggressive chemotherapy and radiation
treatment, and he's done very well. Patients with this type of
cancer are really hit hard and the side effects are extreme," she
said. "We work to minimize the effects but we can't avoid them."

Hamilton's most recent CAT scan was last week. Murphy will not
see the results until this week, but she said a colleague said they
look good. Murphy declined to offer a prognosis.

"At this point in his treatment, we don't see anything that
looks suspicious," the doctor said.

Hamilton, who fields three Dodge trucks, has returned to work at
Bobby Hamilton Racing in Mt. Juliet.

"I don't dwell on my condition," he said. "We have 50-60
people at our shop, and I have to get back to business."

These days he typically arrives at the office at noon.

"I tend to contracts and other business matters. When they get
back from lunch, I go to the fab shop, make my rounds, then go back
to my office. If people need me, they come and get me," he said.

He also has traveled to nearby races in recent weeks. He has
stated that his goal is to return for the final race of the season
at Homestead, Fla., in November.

"Our goal is to get him back," Murphy said, adding that
Hamilton has declined VIP treatment.

"I always stop and talk to the other patients at the clinic,"
Hamilton said. "You feel like you know these people because we all
know what each other is going through."