Bristol: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid RACING AT BRISTOL "Bristol hasn't been very kind to me lately. I've won there before, and we got a top-five qualifying spot the last time we were there, but it's kind of eluded me lately....

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid

RACING AT BRISTOL

"Bristol hasn't been very kind to me lately. I've won there before, and we got a top-five qualifying spot the last time we were there, but it's kind of eluded me lately. It's the kind of track where you can go and have a great car and end up finishing last. You just kind of roll the dice and hope that you're in the right place at the right time because you never know at Bristol. You can be running great and get caught up in something that you had nothing to do with, and the next thing you know some guy who's been running in the back up and wins because half of the field got taken out."

LAST WEEKEND'S TOP-10 FINISH

"We needed a decent finish like we had last weekend. Mike (Ford) and the guys worked hard and we were able to get to the point where we were running pretty well. We just have to keep plugging away at it. It's still early in the season. We've got a long way to go in this deal and a lot can happen in a short amount of time. We just need to take this finish and build on it."

RACE NOTES

Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive chassis No. 14 at Bristol. This is the same chassis he ran at Texas, Darlington(a), Charlotte(a) and Bristol(b). The car has three top-10 finishes and one pole.

CAREER AT BRISTOL

* This weekend will mark Elliott's 40th career start at Bristol. He has one win, one pole, six top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes at the track. Elliott has led nine races for a total of 464 laps at Bristol.

ELLIOTT'S BRISTOL BESTS

* Elliott's earned his sole victory at Bristol in the racetrack's 55th race when he moved from 13th place to victory lane in spring of 1988. Elliott's pole position at Bristol came in the fall race three years later as he started from the front in the 1991 Bud 500. Elliott's most recent top-10 finish at the track came in the spring race of 1997 when he finished seventh.

MILESTONE WATCH

* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 701st career Winston Cup Series start. Last weekend, Elliott became one of only seven drivers to reach the 700-start mark - Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882), Darrell Waltrip (809), Ricky Rudd (772), Terry Labonte (750) and Bobby Allison (717). Elliott is third in overall starts among active drivers. If Elliott continues to start every race of the 2003 season, he will surpass Bobby Allison to rank sixth on the all-time start list in the fall race at Michigan Int'l Speedway.

MOST RECENT RUN AT BRISTOL

* In last August's race at Bristol, Elliott was the highest qualifying Dodge for the seventh week in a row, starting in the fifth position. He remained there through the first 30 laps until he was shuffled to the high line where he lost several spots. He battled a car that was tight in the center for much of the evening. The Dodge Squad sat out the first five cautions, pitting for the first time on lap 149 for an air pressure adjustment and four tires. Contact with another car on lap 193 caused some minor damage to the hood of Elliott's Dodge. Midway through the race he was in 22nd place and working through lap traffic to gain positions. Caution flags continued to fly, but Elliott managed to keep his No. 9 Dodge Intrepid out of trouble. Elliott moved up to 17th place with under 100 laps to go, and finished in that position.

LAST WEEKEND

* After a wet race weekend, the weather held for the duration of Sunday's 293-lap event in Darlington, S.C. Elliott started out the race in 25th place and benefited from three early cautions. By lap 10, his No. 9 Dodge was in the top 10. The cautions allowed the Dodge Squad to make adjustments for Elliott who was reporting extremely tight handling conditions. Elliott fluctuated within the top 15 for most of the race. A little more than halfway through the race a caution came out while the field was cycling through pit stops. Elliott had not pitted and was one of eleven cars that remained on the lead lap for the remainder of the race. Elliott was as high as seventh in the field after the sun began to emerge from behind the clouds. The clouds rolled back in, causing changing handling conditions for Elliott and most of the field. Elliott battled into the top 10, finishing ninth. The result gave Elliott a lift of seven spots in the Winston Cup points race. He moves from 36th to 29th place, just 85 points out of the top 20.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Dave Marcis , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison