JOLIET, Ill., (June 27, 2001) -- Bill Elliott, in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, was the second Dodge to test at the new 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway. Elliott and his crew chief, Mike Ford, gave the track high marks for the smooth...
JOLIET, Ill., (June 27, 2001) -- Bill Elliott, in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, was the second Dodge to test at the new 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway. Elliott and his crew chief, Mike Ford, gave the track high marks for the smooth surface and fast speeds The team spent Tuesday and Wednesday at the track, preparing for the inaugural race and working on setups for other similar tracks. Other teams testing included Bobby Hamilton, Jeremy Mayfield, Shawna Robinson and Jeff Green. .
"The track is really nice. They've done a good job with it. It's a carbon copy of Kansas City, the only difference is that the back straight has a curve in it and there's no Toto here. We'll just follow the yellow brick road. It's pretty typical for a new race track in that the surface is real smooth. It's a pretty fast race track. It's as fast as Charlotte without the banking. If somebody gets really hooked up, they'll be able to go on. If they don't get hooked up, it'll be tough.
"We ran the Michigan car and it was pretty good. We were pretty close on our setups right off the truck. But, you can't really tell from testing at a new track. The only thing you need to look at is the race. We'll have to see how many grooves there are going to be out here. I'm not sure if we'll have a second groove. I don't think we'll see a lot of three wide racing yet. But, I think the competition is going to be fast."
"Chicagoland is a great race track. It's definitely fast. It takes a little different mindset, because it's a lot of aero, not just chassis. It's along the lines of Texas and Vegas, where the speed's up and the grip is up. It's a real nice facility. The aero package will really come into play at Chicagoland. You've got to tune the chassis with aero in mind. And, you're on the throttle so long that you'll need a lot of engine.
"We took the same car we ran at Michigan and finished ninth in. It's a good car for higher speed tracks - that's the reason we brought it. We were close off the truck and picked up three quarters of a second during the day. Bill felt really comfortable in the car. We stayed in race trim the entire time. First, we worked on getting comfortable, then we worked on finding speed. I really liked the track. One of the unique things is that there is nowhere on the track that is exactly straight. There's not a back straight - it's all on a curve. You're always turning the car, which will raise the speeds. The surface is really smooth. There simply weren't any bumps you'd have to drive around.
"I don't think we'll see three wide racing this summer. It'll be a one groove track until people run high and wear a second groove. It'll be difficult to pass until that groove is worn in the top of the track. Running three wide might be a little tight. The entry to turn one sends you up against the wall and the entry to three can make you give up speed if you miss your mark."