Darlington: Elliott, Gilliland - Ford Thursday interview

Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion, and David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford Fusion, both spoke about the new Darlington Raceway pavement after Thursday's first practice ...

Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion, and David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford Fusion, both spoke about the new Darlington Raceway pavement after Thursday's first practice session.

BILL ELLIOTT -- No. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion

YOU'VE BEEN COMING HERE A LONG TIME. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS NEW PAVEMENT? "It's not the same Darlington. It's gonna be a little bit harder to race on it because everybody seems to be running closer to the same speed. The new car has probably made that a lot more apparent, but the cars aren't gonna give up as much and the times are not gonna slow down as much. It's just different."

WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AFTER RUNNING A LAP OR TWO OUT THERE? "I was just thinking that I had to get my act together and get back in the groove because I haven't been here since 2003."

WE'VE HEARD ABOUT THE TRACK BEING A CHEESE GRATER ON TIRES BEFORE AND NOW THERE'S A LOT OF GRIP. "There's a lot of grip and that's one of the pluses and minuses of new pavement. You've got a lot of grip until it finally gives up and when it does give up it's pretty big, but it's still typical Darlington. I still say you've got to race the race track and I still say that's the way it's gonna be come Saturday night."

HAS IT LOST ANY CHARM? "I'll get back to you on that."

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DAVID GILLILAND -- No. 38 freecreditreport.com Ford Fusion

WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SURFACE? "The track definitely has a lot of grip and the speeds stay very consistent and very fast. It's a lot of fun. You run every lap like you used to qualify, so it's a lot of fun. I'm definitely getting more comfortable out there and our speeds are reasonable, so I feel really good about our car."

HOW MUCH DIFFERENT IS THIS TRACK? "It's not the same way at all. We just asked the tire guy how the wear looked and he said, 'There is no wear, really.' So it's different. It's gonna be a different race, but it's gonna be exciting and fast. I think come Saturday night it's gonna be a great one."

HAS THE RACING LINE CHANGED AT ALL? "No, it's the exact same line. That's just the way you have to run to get around here. It's such a unique race track with both corners being so different. You slow down quite a bit in three and four and it's almost like you could have used a shift here in the past. I don't know if anybody ever has, but you just slow down a lot more in three and four than you do in one and two. It's just a unique race track that we're taking our time getting up to speed with."

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THIS WEEKEND? "It's a different place. I've only race one Cup race here and one Busch race, so I don't have a lot of experience here. In looking at these practice sessions, we're gonna spend the first two practices today just shaking the car down and making sure everything is good and just really familiarizing myself with the race track and where we need to run."

WHAT WAS THAT FIRST TIME LIKE LAST YEAR? "The biggest thing in remembering my first time coming here is that it's just so different and so unique from anywhere else we race at because you run right up against the wall. There might be some other tracks we race on that you have to do that for part of the race, but when you're here, you have to so it the whole time. It's a little bit different and it's definitely striped me a time or two."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , David Gilliland