Elliott Dodges Phoenix Crashes to Finish 23rd and Move to 18th in Points

On a day in which many of the Sprint Cup circuit's top drivers were involved in crashes, Bill Elliott steered his No. 09 Security

Benefit/Rydex/Billboard.com Chevrolet through the wreckage and came away with a 23rd-place finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Elliott and his Phoenix Racing team also had to deal with running out of fuel on their final pit stop, which cost them a chance to improve positions in the final green-flag run. Overall, Elliott said he was pleased with the outcome.

"I dodged a few bullets out there," he said. One of his closest calls came when fellow Georgian David Ragan wrecked in front of him, but Elliott escaped with only some damage to the rear quarter panel of his No. 09 Chevrolet.

In between dodging the wrecks that led to eight caution flags that consumed 43 laps, the Phoenix team dealt with the usual chassis adjustments and strategy decisions.

"We were fighting a tight condition, but we freed it up, and it got better," Elliott said, adding that he and his team are still in a learning phase after just two races together.

"We're just working to get a better package," he said. "I'm pretty pumped about how things are going. We're not really that far off, but we need to be better.

"There are a lot of good race cars out there, and they're hard to beat. Everybody's got pretty much the same widgets; it's just a matter of making our widgets work better than the other guys."

Elliott said that between his workout regimen and being in a race car on a weekly basis, he's feeling a lot younger than his 55 years.

"I'm no spring chicken, but I feel as good as I've felt in a long time," he said after climbing from his car at Phoenix. "I could run another 300 laps."

The Phoenix team's finish at Phoenix, combined with a 12th-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 has team owner James Finch in 18th place heading into this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The top 35 in car owner points after the first five races of the season are guaranteed starting spots for upcoming races.

Elliott said that keeping the car in a good position points-wise is doable. "We just need to keep working and doing our thing," he said.

-source: phoenix racing