Richmond: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T Richmond test and keys to winning. The key to getting around Richmond is the same as at any track. Track position is everything. We saw that last week. You also have to stay out of trouble. We ...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

Richmond test and keys to winning.

The key to getting around Richmond is the same as at any track. Track position is everything. We saw that last week. You also have to stay out of trouble. We tested there and had a pretty good test so we're looking for a good run. Richmond was one of the places last year where we felt like we could have been better, that's why we decided to test. We'll just have to see. There are so many things that you need to do to be good: a good race car, good pit stops and good track position are the most obvious.

PERFORMANCE TO DATE

This team has really been coming together. We've been fairly consistent so far this season and that's what we really are trying to improve on from last season. The guys have been working hard and it shows. We've just got to keep getting the finishes we've been getting and we'll be where we want to be - in the top 10.

MIKE FORD - RACE CALL

Bill and I talked about our options and staying out was really the only choice we could make if we wanted to be in contention. We really didn't want to see that last caution because we knew we could make it on gas and some of the other guys couldn't, but track position was everything. We made the call to stay out and that put us in the lead and we were able to get a top five finish.

RACE NOTES

* Evernham Motorsports spent time in the Lockheed wind tunnel in Georgia this week.

* The No. 9 Dodge Squad tested last Tuesday and Wednesday, April 23-24, at Richmond. The team will also test at Charlotte this Monday and Tuesday, May 6-7.

STATS & FACTS

* This will be Elliott's 41st start at Richmond Int'l Raceway. He has one win, three poles, eight top-fives and 15 top-10s at the track. Elliott is tied for most Bud Poles (three) among active drivers at Richmond. Elliott's win at Richmond was earned from his second pole position at the track in the spring race of 1992. He took his most recent pole in the fall race of 1997.

* If Elliott finishes in the top 10 this weekend, it will mark his 299th top-10 finish in 26 years of racing. This week's start at Richmond will mark career number 670 for Elliott.

* In last year's race at Richmond, Elliott spent the evening picking his way through the field after starting 37th. The No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T was running in the top 15 past the midway point of the race until an incident on lap 362. Elliott was forced to come in for repairs to the right front, but the No. 9 crew worked quickly to repair the damage, keeping the car on the lead lap - finishing 17th. In the fall race of '01 Elliott was caught up in a mid-race multi-car accident that heavily damaged his car. He came in and the No. 9 crew went to work. Unfortunately, his problems were compounded when a front brake blower caught on fire, damaging some components of the electrical system and ending his day in 37th place.

* In last week's race at California, Elliott started the day in 39th place after his fender and tire came into contact during his qualifying run. Within 10 laps of Sunday's race, Elliott had advanced 10 spots. He continued his assault on the field, working his way into the top 10. However, Elliott reported trouble with his right rear tire and was forced to pit after a caution midway through the race. He went a lap down, but got it back after a caution on lap 156. The Dodge Squad elected to stay out to get the lap back and restarted in 12th. Elliott was the fastest car on the track during the green flag run. He began making up ground and was driving in the seventh spot when the day's final caution forced the Dodge Squad to make a strategic call for track position with less than 20 laps left in the race. By staying out as the leaders pitted, Elliott moved to the front and was able to battle for a fourth place finish.

* 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 is currently tied for 11th place, and trails 10th place by only 36 points. Last week's finish was Elliott's fourth top 10 of the season. He also received the race award 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