Loudon: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T RUNNING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE "I feel like I haven't ever really figured this track out. I've been decent here and then other times I've been total junk. I don't know. They've made some changes to the ...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

RUNNING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
"I feel like I haven't ever really figured this track out. I've been decent here and then other times I've been total junk. I don't know. They've made some changes to the track too, so that'll be interesting to see how things play out. You need a good handling car at a track like this. It's tough to pass here so track position, as we've seen all year, is going to be key here."

NEW HAMPSHIRE AND POINTS RACE
"It's just going to be one of those deals where we have to wait and see. Mike (Ford) and the guys have been working hard. They help keep me pumped up. We've been chipping away at this thing week after week. That's what we need to do. You really can't afford to have anything go wrong. The points race is so tight right now, but we've been pretty consistent week in and week out and that's what it takes. We're eighth in points and if we keep doing what we're doing, we should be pretty good."

RACE NOTES
* The No. 9 and No. 19 teams tested at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday.

STATS & FACTS
* Last year in the New England 300, Bill Elliott started 12th and ran in the top 15 for the first 200 laps. Although he reported that his Dodge Intrepid race car was pretty good early in the race, handling problems developed as the day went on. He moved from 11th to 28th after a pit stop with 100 laps to go, and struggled to regain spots for the remainder of the race. He spun on lap 235 and made contact with the turn-three wall, but rejoined the field after a pit stop. He finished the day 21st.

* Last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Bill Elliott drove his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW/Muppet Show Dodge Intrepid R/T to a seventh-place finish in the Tropicana 400. Elliott's Intrepid ended up as the only Dodge in the top 15. His eighth top-10 finish in 18 starts allowed the 46-year-old driver from Dawsonville, Ga., to jump from ninth to eighth in the series standings.

* In 14 career Winston Cup starts at New Hampshire International Speedway, Bill Elliott has collected one top-five and three top-ten finishes. Elliott's best start came in the 1995 Slick 50 300 when he started in the fourth position. His best finished in New Hampshire was fifth at the 1999 Jiffy Lube 300.

* Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has led laps in four of the past six races (17 at Dover, 26 at Pocono, 31 at Michigan, three at Sears Point). He has led in six races this year for a total of 94 laps. Elliott led nine races in 2001 for a total of 171 laps.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks 11 spots higher, is finishing an average of more than six spots better in each race, and has one more pole, one more top-five and four more top-10s than he did after 18 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott ranks eighth in the points race just 44 points out of seventh place and 96 points out of fifth.

* Elliott's second-place finish at Dover was his 300th career top-10 finish in 26 years of Winston Cup racing. Elliott has seven top-10s through the first 17 races in 2002. In 2001 Elliott earned nine top-10s. He earned a career-high 24 top-10s in 30 races in 1984, finishing third in the points standings.

* Elliott's second place finish at Dover was also his second top five in 2002 and his best finish since his Nov. 11th victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year. He led twice for 17 laps, earning five bonus points and helping him make up valuable ground in the Winston Cup points race.

* 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