Bill Elliott Homestead preview

Bill Elliott Hopes The Sun Shines On His No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T At Homestead-Miami Speedway HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 7, 2001)--- The Florida sun hasn't shone brightly on Bill Elliott since the Winston Cup Series began racing at ...

Bill Elliott Hopes The Sun Shines On His No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T At Homestead-Miami Speedway

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 7, 2001)--- The Florida sun hasn't shone brightly on Bill Elliott since the Winston Cup Series began racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 1999. However, a recent test session at the 1.5-mile track gives Elliott reason to believe that the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T may heat up the south Florida speedway.

Elliott and the No. 9 crew visited the track in late October looking to gain some knowledge that might give the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T from Evernham Motorsports an edge. The team walked away pleased with the results of their test session.

While success at Homestead has eluded Elliott, he has been successful on the circuit's larger tracks. The 26-year veteran has earned all of his eight top 10 finishes this season on racetracks larger than one mile. Six of his eight top tens came on tracks that are two miles or longer. Elliott hopes that the Florida sun is shining on the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he looks to add to his notable record at NASCAR's larger tracks.

Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

What will Miami hold for you and No. 9 team from Evernham Motorsports?
"It's a challenging racetrack. I haven't run that well at Miami. I've been decent but not as good as I want to be. It's a mile-and-half track and I generally do okay on those tracks, but this is not like a Kansas or Las Vegas. Miami's different because it's just so flat and has long corners. We tested there and we were good in our race runs. We weren't as good in qualifying runs, but it seems like we were able to get a handle on it a little better when we tested."

Talk about your performance in the second half of the season.
"October seemed to be a bad month for us. July, August and September seemed to be pretty decent. Then the last several races we just seem to have a lot of little stuff happen. It's kind of like the way we started the year. We just need a little more consistency. That's just a part of racing though."

Talk about the overall performance of the team this season.
"I think we've done pretty well. I think a lot of guys have come together quicker than what I expected. You know now it's getting down to the end of the year and everybody's tired."

Bill Elliott By the Numbers

* This weekend's race marks Elliott's third career start at Homestead. He started 32nd and finished 24th in the inaugural event in 1999 and ran was able to improve on his next run at the track in last year's Pennzoil 400. After starting 23rd at Homestead in 2000, Elliott reported a vibration problem and hung on as long as he could before coming into the pits on lap 150 to replace four tires. The pit stop turned out to be costly. A few laps later a caution came out, resulting in scheduled pit stops for the rest of the teams. Elliott finished the race 22nd.

* An incident on the first lap of Sunday's race at Rockingham left Elliott with nowhere to go on the track, sending his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T into the wall. Elliott was forced into the garage for repairs. The No. 9 crew worked diligently to repair the damage and was able to return Elliott to the track where he finished the day in 40th place.

* Bill Elliott has been in the top 15 for approximately two-thirds of the season, and within the top 20 for the entire year. His average start is 14th and his average finish is 20th. Elliott has four top fives and eight top 10s on the year - his best output since 1997 when he finished eighth in the championship points standings.

* With $2,864,402 in official earnings this year, Elliott has broken his career-high yearly earnings record of $2,580,823 from last year. He is third in total winnings for all Dodge drivers in 2001 (behind Ward Burton and Sterling Marlin). After finishing eighth at Indy, Elliott became the first Dodge driver in history to break the $2 million earnings mark in a single season. He is on pace to break $3 million before the season's end.

-EM-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Bill Elliott , Sterling Marlin