Martinsville: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T Running at Martinsville I've never been real successful at the shorter tracks like Martinsville. I don't know what it is, but we've been working on it. You can get into trouble so quickly. That's an...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

Running at Martinsville
I've never been real successful at the shorter tracks like Martinsville. I don't know what it is, but we've been working on it. You can get into trouble so quickly. That's an important part of being successful is staying out of trouble. If I can keep that No. 9 Dodge out of it, then we should be okay. I feel like we're plugging away at things though. We're on target-10th in points. Races like this one are important for us to do well. We've got a goal this season and we intend to reach it.

Testing at Martinsville
When we sat down and looked at what we could do to improve on our performance from last year, we felt like we needed to improve at the short tracks. We went to Martinsville last week and had a good test. We spent two days working on race trim. We feel like we learned a lot. You just never know though. You can have a good test and circumstances can come up in the race that you can't prepare for, but we feel like we should have a pretty good run.

Texas
We went down there and got the pole. It says a lot about this program at Evernham Motorsports. All the work that Mike (Ford, crew chief), Ray and all the guys have been putting into this operation. We had a good race. We just could never get it freed up the way we needed it. I feel bad for Mike and the guys because it's such a short week.

STATS & FACTS

* This will be Elliott's 39th start at Martinsville Speedway. Though he has never visited victory lane or earned the pole position at Martinsville, Elliott has accumulated 13 top-10 finishes in 38 starts at NASCAR's oldest track. He earned his top finish of third in the fall races of '84 and '94. His highest qualifying position of second came in the fall race of '88.

* If Elliott finishes in the top 10 this weekend, it will mark his 298th top-10 finish through 26 years of racing.

* An on-track incident damaged Elliott's radiator early in last October's race at Martinsville. His car eventually overheated and retired from the race on lap 115. Elliott, who started 21st, would finish in 42nd place. In last April's Virginia 500, Elliott ran very close to his average 14th place start/finish at Martinsville, when he moved from a 17th-place start to finish 14th on the day.

* In last week's race at Texas, Elliott earned his 53rd career pole and held the front row spot for the first 13 laps. He remained in the top five for the first half of the race despite a tight handling car. With Saturday's practice sessions cancelled because of rain, the Dodge Squad was forced to react to changing track conditions with few notes on the newly repaved track. Elliott managed to stay with the race leaders throughout the day. He finished ninth. It was Elliott's best finish and qualifying effort at the track.

* Elliott's pole position last week at Texas was his second of the year (Atlanta), and third in his last 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).

* Elliott's third top 10 finish of the year along with five bonus points for leading the race last week at Texas, helped him move up three spots in the Winston Cup championship points race to 10th. He is 101 points out of fifth place.

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