DAYTONA, FL (June 29, 2001)- Bill Elliott returns to Daytona International Speedway with a gleam in his eye and a strong desire to put his red Dodge Intrepid R/T right back where it started -- on the pole. Elliott is gaining momentum as he...
DAYTONA, FL (June 29, 2001)- Bill Elliott returns to Daytona International Speedway with a gleam in his eye and a strong desire to put his red Dodge Intrepid R/T right back where it started -- on the pole.
Elliott is gaining momentum as he returns to Daytona, where he claimed the Bud Pole for the 2001 Daytona 500 in the Dodge Winston Cup program's inaugural run. He also was strong at Talladega, where he started third. Two recent top 10s at Michigan and Sears Point show that Evernham Motorsports has the No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T pointed in the right direction.
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
What is your outlook on Daytona?
"I think we'll be ready. We were good in Daytona the first go 'round and we were ready for Talladega, even with the rules change. Mike does a good job on speedway stuff. We were more prepared for the speedways than the other tracks. But, I've got mixed emotions going back there. I think it's going to be tough for everyone.
"It's going to be tough going with the new rules. We lucked out at Talladega but that was a unique deal. The rules change with the front springs might change things, if it applies down there. I'm not sure how the cars are going to be. I think they'll be good, but we'll just have to see."
How has the season been so far?
"It's been up and down. We were pretty pleased with Michigan. We've got a lot coming together, but we're not hitting on all eight yet. We just haven't gotten it all together at the same time. It's a tough business right now. We're trying to build and grow and do all in one fell swoop.
"This season has been more about growing pains. By the second go 'round at these tracks I hope to be okay. We're getting the cars dissected and going in the right direction. Casey was okay at Pocono and I was okay at Michigan and Sears Point. We've been inconsistent this season. We're going to have to consistently finish good to get this deal going. I'd like to get a rules change, if that's what it takes to win a race."
Bill Elliott at Daytona International Speedway:
* Elliott is the returning pole winner from the 2001 Daytona 500 in February. His fifth place finish at the track has been his best finish this season. Elliott was one of 14 drivers to lead laps, and raced in the lead pack throughout much of the race.
* Elliott and the No. 9 team are gaining momentum after earning two top-10 finishes in their last three races. He finished 9th at Michigan and Sears Point.
* Elliott moved from 19th to 17th in the Winston Cup Standings after finishing 9th in his last race at Sears Point Raceway.
* Elliott has been strong on the superspeedways this year. He started third at Talladega and ran with the lead pack until a late race penalty put him down a lap. He finished the day 32nd.
* This will be Elliott's 49th Winston Cup start at Daytona. Coming in to the Pepsi 400 he has four wins, 15 top fives and 24 top 10s at the track.
* His fifth pole position at Daytona in 2001 put him in the record books alongside the likes of racing legends Buddy Baker and Glen "Fireball" Roberts. Currently, Elliott holds the record among active drivers for the most pole positions at Daytona.
* Elliott holds a Daytona track record for his 1987 Daytona 500 qualifying speed of 210.364 mph, 42.783 seconds.