Michigan test notes 2005-06-07

ARCA RE/MAX ROOKIE DRIVER ERIN CROCKER,CUP VETERAN BILL ELLIOTT LEARN FROM EACH OTHER IN MIS TEST SESSION BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Twenty-four year old Evernham development driver Erin Crocker, who is running several races in the ...


BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Twenty-four year old Evernham development driver Erin Crocker, who is running several races in the #98 Dodge in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, got her first taste of the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway oval on Tuesday during a test session in preparation for the Hantz Group 200 on Friday, June 17.

Along with Crocker's #98 Dodge, seven other drivers continued testing Tuesday at MIS, including Matt Kenseth in the #17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, Bill Elliott in the #91 McDonald's Dodge, Dave Blaney in the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, Tony Stewart in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet, Stuart Kirby in the #51 Competitive Edge car and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series driver Chad Chaffin in the #30 Germain Toyota with Rusty Wallace in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge making a testing appearance on Monday only. No official speeds were reported on Tuesday.

Crocker, who took the pole and finished 12th in her first ARCA appearance at Nashville last month, had a special teacher on hand that knows a thing or two about visiting victory lane at MIS, namely seven-time MIS winner Bill Elliott.

Elliott was also on track Monday and Tuesday for a two-day test session in preparation for his first NEXTEL Cup Series race at MIS since 2003. Elliott is scheduled to participate in the Batman Begins 400 on June 19 in the #91 McDonald's Ford.

"I never thought in a million years I would be hanging out with Bill Elliott and having him show me laps around Michigan International Speedway," said Crocker. "It is an amazing opportunity. I've heard about Bill giving people rides around racetracks in his passenger car. I'm a little nervous to ride around the track with him. There is no one better to show me the line around here than Bill Elliott."

Since Elliott started racing at MIS long before Crocker was born (Elliott's first race at MIS was in 1976, Crocker was born in 1981), he understands what it takes to win at Michigan. His career at the track is highlighted by a record four straight Cup victories in 1985 and 1986. Elliott had a lot of praise for Crocker during a break in testing.

"Erin's got her work cut out for her. She's got a great background, but it's just a matter of getting experience and being in the right equipment," Elliott said. "Evernham Motorsports is a great place for her to be. I am really looking forward to seeing how she competes this year."

Crocker has received a great deal of attention as of late due to the recent success of IRL IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick. After Patrick's fourth place finish in the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, Crocker was drawing comparison's to the 23-year-old.

"I think that Danica's success has helped me out," said Crocker. "I don't feel any pressure because of her success. I'm not the only woman who will ever be successful in racing. I think it has helped all women in this sport, including myself. A woman generally receives more attention at a race because we're female. I think it is a positive push for us."

As for Elliott, he will be competing at MIS for the first time since August of 2003. Elliott is running a partial schedule this season and will be making stops at MIS for both NEXTEL Cup races in June in his McDonald's Dodge and August in his Auto Value Bumper-to-Bumper Part Stores Dodge.

"I've always enjoyed Michigan. I didn't get a chance to run here last year and things worked out that I could come back here, which I'm very excited about," said Elliott. "I miss the people, but I don't miss racing every week. I was able to let everyday racing go, but I'm still around and competing on my terms. It took me about a week to be comfortable with my decision to not run every week. I've contributed a lot to this sport and I've made a lot of friends in auto racing. I'm doing what I want to do and enjoying life."

Tickets are still available for all June 17-19 activities at MIS, with children 12 and under admitted free to Friday's ARCA RE/MAX Hantz Group 200 and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck's Paramount Health Insurance 200 on Saturday. In addition, tickets are still available for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Batman Begins 400 on Sunday, June 19. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.


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About this article
Series ARCA , NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Stuart Kirby , Chad Chaffin , Dave Blaney , Danica Patrick