DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (April 29, 1998) In his 23 years of racing, Bill Elliott has experienced his share of accidents, but none can compare to his horrific crash on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. But despite that incident, Elliott is ...
DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (April 29, 1998)
In his 23 years of racing, Bill Elliott has experienced his share of accidents, but none can compare to his horrific crash on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. But despite that incident, Elliott is planning on piloting the McDonald's Ford this weekend in the California 500 presented by NAPA at California Speedway.
In fact, the Dawsonville, Ga., native will be in the Los Angeles area Thursday, April 30 to shoot a "Did Somebody Say McDonald's?" commercial.
Quite the quick recovery for Elliott, making it from the infirmary at Talladega to a sound stage in Hollywood in less than a week.
On lap 141 of Sunday's DieHard 500, after leading two laps and dropping back to the fourth spot, Elliott was involved in a multi-car incident that sent his Taurus in every direction. The car hit the outside wall hard on the driver's side, then flipped on its side and eventually on its roof, sliding down the front straightaway with flames coming from underneath, momentarily.
"I never saw it coming," said Elliott, who finished 39th, the first race of the year he has failed to finish outside the top-15. "One minute we're going down through the trioval, and the next I'm turned sideways, going towards the fence. There was nothing I could do except hang on."
Elliott was extremely fortunate to walk away from the accident virtually unscathed. His only injuries were a bruised sternum and a few pulled muscles. Extra safety features had been installed in the car prior to the race. An extra window net was installed to help support Elliott's head, while extra padding was put on the left side of Elliott's seat to provide more cushion should he get hit on the driver's side. These moves were valuable, as the driver's side slammed into the wall.
This accident was quite the opposite of Elliott's wreck two years ago at Talladega. Although, it was a single-car incident and not as violent as this past Sunday's, Elliott did suffer a broken left femur and underwent surgery for three hours. As a result of this injury, he missed seven races.
"I was so relieved to be able to move around and actually walk to the ambulance," said Elliott of Sunday's accident. "I did not want to go through what I did two years ago. That was one tough ordeal. When I got home Sunday night and it was hurting to take deep breaths, I kept thinking, 'This is a piece of cake, compared to two years ago.'"
Just in case Elliott won't be able to run the entire race this weekend, Dennis Setzer, who made his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut at Talladega in a third Elliott-owned Ford, will be standing by as a back-up driver. Setzer paced Bud Second-Round Qualifying at Talladega to make his first series event, then went on to post a 19th-place finish.
Despite his ups and downs at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Elliott still considers Talladega one of the tracks where racing is fun.
"The problem with Talladega is that it doesn't discriminate when it comes to accidents," said Elliott, a two-time winner there. "I obviously was at the wrong place, at the wrong time."
Source: NASCAR Online