Indianapolis: Bill Elliott - NASCAR spotlight

Elliott has been quietly successful at Brickyard DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 29, 2003) -- More than half of Bill Elliott's 43 NASCAR Winston Cup victories -- 23 to be exact -- have come in the southeastern United States, the birthplace of both ...

Elliott has been quietly successful at Brickyard

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 29, 2003) -- More than half of Bill Elliott's 43 NASCAR Winston Cup victories -- 23 to be exact -- have come in the southeastern United States, the birthplace of both NASCAR and of Elliott, a native of Dawsonville, Ga.

But one of those wins -- and some of his greatest success at one NASCAR Winston Cup track -- has come in America's heartland at a place historically known for open wheel racing.

Elliott (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) is the defending champion of the Brickyard 400, a race that will celebrate its 10th year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

In addition to his 2002 victory, Elliott has four top five and seven top-10 finishes in his nine previous races at Indianapolis.

Why does a small-town guy who grew up racing on Georgia short tracks have such success on the hallowed racing ground of Indianapolis?

"I don't know what it is. There's just something about it," Elliott said. "I just think it adds to how special it is when you do well there. There's a lot of racing history at that track and it just means so much to be a part of that now. I can't describe what it was like to kiss those bricks. It's a day I'll never forget.

"I kept asking where my milk was. I thought you got to drink milk when you won there. I guess that's one thing that the open-wheel guys get that we don't."

Despite not fully understanding where his ability to conquer the mystique of Indy comes from, Elliott is certain of the reasoning behind the technical aspects of bettering the track, a venue that will be 94 years old on Aug. 19.

"These days, you've got to have everything perfect from the cars to your pit stops and that's what we did last year," he said. "We almost sat on the pole, too, but we were able to put everything together in the race and not have any mistakes. That's what it's all about."

Be part of something big

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott