Atlanta: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid RACING AT ATLANTA "I really like racing at Atlanta, you know, it's kind of like my hometown track. I really kind of liked the old configuration to tell you the truth. It sort of had a personality of...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid

RACING AT ATLANTA

"I really like racing at Atlanta, you know, it's kind of like my hometown track. I really kind of liked the old configuration to tell you the truth. It sort of had a personality of its own. I feel like I lost a little bit when they changed it, but I always seem to qualify well here and Atlanta still makes for some great racing. I took the pole in this race last year, and I feel like we had a shot at a front spot last weekend. We had a good car for qualifying in Las Vegas, but then it got rained out and we never got to see how it would've worked."

PAST THREE RACES

"We're obviously not where we want to be right now, but Ray and the guys are working hard. With this new body style we wanted to test a little more than we have, but the weather hasn't really cooperated. We're working on it though. We had a good run at Las Vegas, so we just need to build on it."

RACE NOTES

Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he raced in the spring race at Michigan, where he qualified fourth and finished 11th.

CAREER AT ATLANTA

* This weekend's race marks Elliott's 53rd career start at Atlanta. He has five poles, five wins, 12 top-fives and 18 top-10s at the track. Elliott has led 18 races for a total of 1,016 laps at the racetrack.

ATLANTA RECORD-HOLDER

* Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with five poles, 12 top-fives and 52 starts at Atlanta. Elliott's five wins tie him with Bobby Labonte for the lead among all active drivers. Atlanta, Pocono and Darlington rank second to Michigan (seven wins) as Elliott's winningest tracks.

ANOTHER FEAT FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

* There have been only five sweeps of Atlanta's two NWCS races since the track opened in 1960, and Bill Elliott has provided the most recent two (1985 and 1992). The other drivers to accomplish this feat: Marvin Panch (1965), Bobby Allison (1972) and David Pearson (1973).

ELLIOTT'S ATLANTA BESTS

* Elliott's most recent victory at Atlanta came when he swept both of the 1992 races en route to a runner-up finish in the points championship. Elliott's most recent pole at the track came last March when he earned his first pole of 2002 in the MBNA America 500. The pole was Elliott's first pole at Atlanta since November 1991 and his 52nd career Bud Pole in 663 races.

CAREER MILESTONE APPROACHING

* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 699th career Winston Cup Series start. In that time Elliott has amassed 43 wins, 55 poles, 166 top-fives and 307 top-tens. If Elliott continues to start every race in 2003, he will make his career start number 700 in the March 16, Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington.

EARLY BEGINNINGS

* Elliott made his second career Winston Cup Series start at Atlanta, March 21, 1976. His first career start came less than a month earlier at North Carolina.

MOST RECENT RUN AT ATLANTA

* In last October's NAPA 500 at Atlanta, Bill Elliott rolled off 12th in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge when qualifying was rained out. In a race shortened by rain, Elliott reported a vibration in the opening laps. With 25 laps completed the race was stopped due to rainfall, and during the almost two and a half hour delay the Dodge Squad strategized on the source and the solution to the vibration, which appeared to be in the drive shaft or rear end of the car. Once the race resumed green-flag status, Elliott battled the condition throughout the day to finish in 33rd place until the race was called early on lap 428 due to weather.

LAST WEEKEND

* Last weekend at Las Vegas, Elliott immediately began to move up from his 30th starting position and was in 20th place by lap 30. Elliott reported tightness in the center of his No. 9 Dodge, and the Dodge Squad used air pressure adjustments to help improve the car's handling. Elliott fluctuated through the top 20 until lap 133 when Mike Ford elected to keep Elliott out after a caution caused by the 88 car. Elliott had brought his Dodge in for gas only on lap 126, and the decision to stay out moved Elliott into the fifth spot. Elliott remained in the top 10, but several cautions late in the race put Elliott in lapped traffic. He maneuvered his way through the cars to finish in 14th place. Elliott gains five spots in the Winston Cup points race. He sits in 31st place just 47 points out of the top 20 and 100 points out of the top-10.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Bobby Labonte , Marvin Panch , Bobby Allison , David Pearson