Brooklyn: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T THOUGHTS ON MICHIGAN "I've always liked Michigan. I'd have to say it's one of my favorite tracks. It's kind of like a home track for me. Atlanta really is my home track, but Michigan kind of...


"I've always liked Michigan. I'd have to say it's one of my favorite tracks. It's kind of like a home track for me. Atlanta really is my home track, but Michigan kind of runs right up there with it. There are just a lot of good memories and I still have some good friends up there."

"I feel like we could have a pretty good run at Michigan. I generally run okay there. Mike (Ford, crew chief) and the guys have been working so hard week in and week out, and I think it shows. We weren't bad here last year. We almost got that first win for Dodge. We were pretty good in California too this year. I really like that track so we've got some stuff to go off of this weekend."

"We've been chipping away at this thing. It's so close right now (the points race) that you can't afford to have a bad weekend. We're on target for our goal this year - top 10 in points and that's what we're working toward."


* Bill Elliott leads all active drivers with seven poles and seven wins at Michigan. He has 17 top fives and 29 top 10s in his 48 Winston Cup Series appearances at the track. He swept both events at Michigan in 1985 and 1986 and won six of eight from 1984 to 1987. Elliott has won a Michigan race from the pole position three times in his career. His most recent victory at Michigan came in the fall race of 1988. Elliott's most recent pole at the track came in the 1989 spring race.

* Elliott is the leading money-winner at Michigan, having earned nearly $1.4 million in total winnings at Michigan International Speedway.

* Elliott's second-place finish at Dover was his 300th career top-10 finish in 26 years of Winston Cup racing. Elliott has six top-10s through the first 13 races in 2002. In 2001 Elliott earned nine top-10s. He earned a career-high 24 top-10s in 30 races in 1984, finishing third in the points standings.

* In his last visit to Michigan, Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T grabbed life by the horns in a race shortened by rain. Starting from the outside pole, Elliott led the race on the first lap. He would lead five times for the most laps - 57 out of 162. Elliott was in the second spot when rain brought out the red flag on lap 100. On the restart he moved into the top spot until Sterling Marlin, in the #40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T, took the lead on lap 145. Marlin would stay there until rain ended the race on lap 162, giving Dodge its first win since 1977. Elliott finished in the third spot. It was his best finish so far that season.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks three spots higher, is finishing an average of nearly six spots better in each race, and has one more pole, one more top-five and four more top-10s than he did after 14 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott ranks 11th in the points race just nine points out of the top 10.

* Last Sunday at Pocono, Elliott started in ninth place. The field was set by owners points due to ground water seepage on the track prior to Friday's qualifying session. Elliott immediately moved up from a top 10 spot into the top five in the early stages of the race. He would spend most of the day alternating between the third and top spot. He took the lead on lap 92 and stayed there until caution on lap 117 brought the leaders into the pits. On lap 167, caution brought the leaders in again. Most of the cars from fifth place on back took two tires. The No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T took four, which moved Elliott into the 12th spot. It, however, was the correct call as Elliott made up ground as the other car's tires began to"fall off." Elliott clearly had a car to contend for the lead, as his lap times showed. His run ended on lap 179 because of mechanical troubles.

* Elliott's second place finish at Dover was his second top five in 2002 and his best finish since his Nov. 11th victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year. He led twice for 17 laps, earning five bonus points and helping him make up valuable ground in the Winston Cup points race.

* Elliott's pole position this year at Texas was his second of the year (Atlanta), and third in the span of 10 races - dating back to the November 11 race at Homestead/Miami last year. It was Elliott's 53rd career Bud Pole in 668 Winston Cup races, placing him third behind David Pearson (57) and Darrell Waltrip (59) in Modern-era Winston Cup career poles (Elliott ranks first among active drivers).


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , David Pearson