Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 94 McDonald's Taurus, had his best finish of the season in the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway two months ago, finishing fifth. As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads back to Loudon this ...
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 94 McDonald's Taurus, had his best finish of the season in the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway two months ago, finishing fifth. As the NASCAR Winston Cup Series heads back to Loudon this weekend, Elliott spoke about what to expect in the DuraLube/Kmart 300.
BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus -- YOU HAD YOUR BEST FINISH OF THE 1999 SEASON AT THE FIRST NEW HAMPSHIRE RACE THIS YEAR. DESCRIBE HOW THE RACE WENT. "We wrecked our car in practice, qualifying for second round. We had to pull out the back-up car (started 40th). We only got the hour of practice Saturday evening in that car. When we started out the race we were a little bit off and ended up getting a lap down because we started at the back. Then we got our lap back about halfway in the race. I guess there was a caution with 90-some laps to go, and we were with the last cars in the lead lap so we thought we'd come in and get fuel and put tires on and go the rest of the way. We were one of the fortunate ones. I think me and Kenny Wallace and several others gambled on doing that and it paid off. Probably the last 90 laps, or 80, or whatever it was, that was the best I'd run all day. So it all added up to a real good finish. Loudon has been pretty good to me, but I think both races last year wasn't very good at all. I don't mind the racetrack. It's just you've got to be set up just right for the place. It's one of them deals where you can't get off a little bit."
WHAT MAKES A TRACK A FUEL MANAGEMENT TRACK? ARE THERE CERTAIN TRACKS THAT ARE THAT WAY MORE THAN OTHERS? "Not really. You've just got to do the best you can and hope it all works. I don't know in this business if you've got good tracks and bad tracks. It depends on how good the car is and how you've got it set up. It's like Martinsville. The first years I went there I hated the place. But the last couple of times I've been there I've run good there and I like it. So it's just kind of tit for tat."
YOU HAVE SAID THIS HAS BEEN A ROLLER COASTER YEAR FOR YOU. "Well, we've just had a lot of things go on. We had a lot of people leave in April and May from the team. We've had a lot of change in that department. Basically, these guys have been together since the middle of May. It's hard to get everybody going in a good direction. It's just been a struggle in a lot of places. The first part of the year we struggled in several places, but we've just got to keep looking at the picture, keep truckin' along and hope everything gets better."
IS THERE AN ENERGY WITH NEW CREWMEMBERS THAT MAY HAVE GONE AWAY WITH A TEAM THAT HAS BEEN TOGETHER FOR A WHILE? "I think you tend to get stagnate, but Evernham and Gordon have been together for a long time and several others. But as long as you are looking at the main goal I don't know if it matters how long you're together if you're continuing to look at the whole picture."
YOU HAVE BEEN WHERE EVERNHAM AND GORDON ARE. WHAT HAPPENS? "It goes in cycles. Nobody understands the business. You go through a period where you're doing everything right the way you're doing it. Cars change, tires change, engines change, racetracks change and all through that evolution the way you were doing things isn't the way things are done today. And now you've got to be open-minded and be able to adjust. You've got to understand the amount of changes I've been through from the start of my career to this point. You talk to Darrell, you talk to Dale Earnhardt, and everybody who has been through it, from the big cars we used to race to the bias ply tires to no down force to these cars we're driving today with radial tires and all the power and everything else. It's a totally different world."
WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR BILL ELLIOTT THROUGH THE END OF THIS YEAR AND GOING INTO 2000? "Just trying to get on track. Just trying to get things going. It's hard enough within itself to make this stuff work, and to keep momentum going and people motivated and everything else is probably the hardest part of this whole business."