LMS Media Tour: Bill Elliott quotes from Evernham Motorsports Stop
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 91 Dodge Charger)
"Right now, it (ride with Chip Ganassi in Budweiser Shootout) is just a one-shot deal. I talked with Ray about running some other stuff. I think I'm going to end up running some Busch races this year and maybe some truck stuff, but right now I want to pick and do a couple a month. Unlike the Cup deal, and I'm sure everybody wants to know this, I wanted to race a little bit more than I did last year but on the other hand I want to pick and choose what I do. That's so much different than running every week on the Cup side. The absolute most fun I had (last year) was spending time with Chase (son) watching him run his go-kart. To sit and watch, not only when he runs his go-kart but he's been playing some other sports, too, spending time with him growing up is what I missed so much with my other kids growing up. That was a lot of fun for me."
COMMENT ON KASEY KAHNE'S SUCCESS LAST SEASON
"Kasey did a fantastic job, and I was very proud of him. I'm sure as I went into the season one side of you was a little jealous, but the other side was 'hey man, you've had your time.' The kid deserved it. He worked hard for it. He did a fantastic job. He should have been in victory lane a couple of times, but we've all been down that road before. All-in-all, he's got a great future. With what Ray has built here, it's just incredible. With the amount of people and the amount of vision he's got from what he's brought in, looking the way I started with my McDonald's deal in the late '90s and building this facility and start here, I would have never had the vision to go where he's gone today. It blows me away. Where the sport's gone, it looks like to me it just keeps nipping away at the guy that can come in and make a name, but on the other hand you've got the driver development where if you can get your name in the hat on the driver development you've just about got a guaranteed ride if you're good enough to make the cut to go on in to something else."
DID YOU START THE RETIREMENT TREND?
"From one standpoint if you look at it, I ran all the races for over 20 years. That's enough of the pressure week in and week out. Now I want to do something that's more on the fun side. For me to go out and run selected races and do this or dabble in that, I still want to be competitive, but I don't want to run into that grind every week of having to show up at the next event. I can pick my races and pick times where I can be other places doing other things and spending time with Chase or whatever. He's getting to the point now where if he wants to continue to race or whatever he wants to do, I'll be there to help him and guide him. On the other side of the coin, with what Ray is trying to build with driver development, I'll be there to help with the next generation. There's a lot of new areas and a lot of new pages for my book from this standpoint on. That's what I'm trying to get used to and fill the role of what feels right to me. You finally get to the point where you say, 'hey, I can give this up and go do something else.' You've been a competitor for a lot of years. It's a lot of dedication and a lot of work and a lot of time away from home. That's why I wanted to do it a little bit at a time, plus Ray wants me to stay involved from his standpoint. Being able to drive part time and keep up with the car evolution and keep up with the new drivers coming along, helps me keep in touch. It gives me time on the other side to spend time with the kids. It's a two-fold deal. I really had a lot of fun last year. Some of the races I'd just show up and meet my friends and go on down the road. At others, I'd just watch 'em on TV. Then I got to compete in some. It was a whole different feel and last year was the first year not to run the Daytona 500 in a number of years, but to be able to meet the President and greet him and do what I did in the Daytona 500 pre-race filled a lot of that void."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK FOR ONE SHOT WITH COORS?
"That's kinda neat. I really enjoyed running for those guys. It was unfortunate they got out from us when they did in the 90s, but one shot with them will be a lot of fun."