Dover: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T MOVING INTO THE TOP 10 IN POINTS "It's been one of our goals, to be in the top 10 in points this year. These guys have worked really hard. We've gone back and looked at the places where we needed to...

BILL ELLIOTT
NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T

MOVING INTO THE TOP 10 IN POINTS "It's been one of our goals, to be in the top 10 in points this year. These guys have worked really hard. We've gone back and looked at the places where we needed to improve and so far we've done a good job of improving there. Charlotte is a good example. We didn't run as well as we would have liked to there last year so we looked to improve this time around and we did. Dover is another one of the tracks where we want to get a better finish this year. We had some trouble at the last race so we want to make sure that we continue to be consistent with our results this year. That's our biggest goal -- consistency. The guys have really been working hard to make sure we are running that way."

STATS & FACTS

* Elliott's ninth-place finish at Charlotte was his 299th career top-10 finish in 26 years of Winston Cup racing. Elliott will be looking for his sixth top-10 of the year to reach the milestone of 300 career top-10s at Dover Int'l Speedway this weekend. This weekend's start at Dover will mark career number 672 for Elliott - the NASCAR veteran earned career start number 650 in last fall's MBNA Cal Ripken, Jr. 400 at Dover.

* This will be Elliott's 37th start at Dover Int'l Speedway. Elliott's four wins at Dover tie him for the most wins at the track among active drivers. He also has three poles, 11 top-fives and 18 top-10s at the track. Elliott earned his most recent Dover victory from the pole position in the 1990 Peak 500 - a race in which he set the track record for fastest 500-mile race (125.945 mph, 3 hours, 19 minutes, 0 seconds). He has earned over $1 million in winnings at Dover.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks six spots higher, is finishing an average of more than five spots better in each race, and has one more pole and four more top-10s than he did after 12 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott ranks 10th in the points race and trails fifth place by 141 points.

* In his last visit to Dover, Elliott guaranteed that he would get his 650th career start when he qualified 10th for the 400-lap race, matching his average starting position at Dover (10). He and the No. 9 crew saw his memorable day ruined by an incident less than 25 laps into the race. The No. 9 crew worked throughout the race to keep Elliott's Dodge Intrepid R/T on the track, enabling him to extend his streak of races without a DNF to 32. Elliott suffered similar bad luck in the 2001 spring race after starting 16th based on points standings. The No. 9 Dodge sustained heavy damage to the frame and suspension in an accident on lap three. The Dodge Squad took the car to the garage for work, pulling out the frame, replacing the suspension and mending exterior damage. Elliott returned to the track with approximately 150 laps to go and completed the race. He finished the day at 40th.

* Last Sunday, Elliott started the season's longest race in fifth place. He managed to keep his Dodge Intrepid R/T on the lead lap all evening and maintained track position through the changing conditions. Elliott opted not to make any major adjustments until the sun went down and the track conditions leveled off. Mike Ford and the Dodge Squad made several air pressure and trackbar adjustments to help correct the car. Elliott stayed within the top 15 for most of the race. On lap 270 Elliott came in to top off on gas during the eighth of nine cautions. Elliott would have been able to stay out for the remainder of the race, while most of the top 10 would have had to make a final pit stop. Caution on lap 360 negated that strategy and forced Elliott to pit with the rest of the leaders. He restarted in eighth place and would go on to finish ninth. The No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T was the highest finishing Dodge. Elliott advanced to tenth place in Winston Cup drivers points. He has not been out of the top 15 in points all season.

* Elliott's fourth place finish at California was his first top five and his best finish of the season. He led three laps, gaining a spot and making up valuable ground in the Winston Cup points race. He also received the race award in California for gaining the most spots, advancing from 39th to fourth.

* Elliott's pole position this year at Texas was his second of the year (Atlanta), and third in the span of 10 races - dating back to the November 11 race at Homestead/Miami last year. It was Elliott's 53rd career Bud Pole in 668 Winston Cup races, placing him third behind David Pearson (57) and Darrell Waltrip (59) in Modern-era Winston Cup career poles (Elliott ranks first among active drivers).

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , David Pearson