Charlotte: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT "We're working on making sure I'm comfortable in the car. I've driven with an injury before, but with what we've worked out I think everything will be fine. I survived 600 kids walking around me yesterday and I was okay (at a...

BILL ELLIOTT

"We're working on making sure I'm comfortable in the car. I've driven with an injury before, but with what we've worked out I think everything will be fine. I survived 600 kids walking around me yesterday and I was okay (at a special event held at Union County Primary where Elliott donated $10,000 to the library). I think I can deal with this inconvenience this weekend."

RAY EVERNHAM (Team Owner Evernham Motorsports)

"As of last night, Bill (Elliott) has told me he's cleared to drive. He does have three broken bones in his foot, but he was with an orthopedic doctor in Georgia and also we've been back and forth in communication with Dr. Terry Trammel out of Indianapolis. He's in the process of making up a carbon fiber foot sole and foot protector for Bill. I guess this is a pretty common injury in open wheel racing. They do have carbon fiber braces, and Bill is being fitted with one of those today. He has no other injuries other than the bones in his foot. He had a lot of praise about the HANS, and as far as the seat and the things the guys on the No. 9 team have specifically worked on to protect the inside of the car. The number we got on the G-meter from NASCAR was 48 Gs, so it was a pretty hard hit. I'm not sure about the broken foot, whether it was hyper extended. It was not from hitting the brake pedal or anything like that. Again, he has no other injuries and feels great. I talked to him several times yesterday. He's looking forward to it and doesn't feel like there's going to be any issues this week."

ANY PLANS FOR A STANDBY DRIVER?

"We actually talked to Ted Musgrave, and we'll play that by ear. Bill feels really good. Ted has agreed to stand by if needed, but we'll make that decision as we go a little further into the week."

MIKE FORD (Crew chief No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid)

"Our No. 1 objective is to make sure he's comfortable. With his injury a week old come this weekend, we need to make sure he's comfortable and able to run the 600 miles being the longest race of the year. It wouldn't be very much fun for him if he were in pain and had to endure that all day. We're just trying to make him comfortable."

RACE NOTES

Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive chassis No. 38 this weekend at Charlotte. Elliott raced this chassis at Atlanta and Texas earlier this year as well as Michigan (a) last year. It's highest finish is 11th at Michigan.

STATS & FACTS

CAREER AT CHARLOTTE

* This will be Elliott's 53rd career start at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He has two wins, four poles, 10 top-fives and 21 top-10s at the track. His most recent pole-position at the track came in the Coca-Cola 600 in 1992. Elliott's two wins at the track came in the fall races of 1984 and 1987. He has won more than $1.7 million in earnings in NASCAR points races at Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE RECORD

* Elliott has led more laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway than any other active driver (1,136). His four poles at the racetrack (1985-a, 1987-a, 1989-b, 1992-a) rank second among all active drivers. Elliott's pole position in last weekend's Winston all-star race was a record fifth pole for the NASCAR veteran.

ALWAYS FAST ON FRIDAYS

* Elliott's average qualifying position through the season's first 11 races is 13.9, tying him for the fifth-best average on the Winston Cup circuit. Elliott has five top-five starts in 2003, tying him for the most on the circuit behind Ryan Newman (eight). Elliott's qualifying average this year is also more than eight positions improved over what it was after the first 11 races of 2002.

RUNNING UP FRONT

* Elliott has led laps in four of the last five Winston Cup points races (Texas, Talladega, California, Richmond) for a total of 62 laps led.

MILESTONE WATCH

* Elliott, who made his 603rd career Winston Cup start during the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, became one of only seven Winston Cup drivers to reach the 700-start mark when he qualified 25th at Darlington this year. This weekend's race will mark his 707th career Winston Cup Series start. If he continues to start every race of the 2003 season, Elliott will surpass Bobby Allison to rank sixth on the all-time start list in the fall race at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Currently, Elliott ranks third in overall starts among active drivers.

MOST RECENT RUN AT CHARLOTTE

* Elliott slithered into last year's fall race with a special design for his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid. His race car featured a Viper, complete with beady green eyes, scaly red skin and fangs. The special paint scheme was in support of Dodge's 2003 Viper SRT-10. Elliott spent the first 100 laps in the top-10. The Dodge Squad was prepared for the changing track conditions due to the late start of the race. On their first pit stop they took four tires and fuel only. On lap 134, Elliott reported a flat tire that caused extensive damage to the right side of his car. The Dodge Squad was forced to retire to the garage to repair the car. Elliott was able to return to the track, hoping to pick up positions in the closing laps of the race. An incident on lap 230 forced Elliott into the pits for repairs again, but the Dodge Squad was able to repair the damage and sent him back out on the track to make up valuable ground. He finished 35th.

LAST WEEKEND

* Elliott set an electrifying pace in last Friday's qualifying session for The Winston. The Dodge Squad pulled off the quickest time for the special qualifying event, which consists of three laps with a mandatory four-tire pit stop. Elliott was the fastest entering the pits and his Dodge Squad completed the stop in lighting time, earning Elliott his record-setting fifth pole for the event. In Saturday's event, Elliott remained in the top five for the first 40 laps (the first segment). He reported that his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was handling tight, and he came in for four tires during the mandatory stop. He held on to the fourth spot for the final lap of the segment. During the segment's intermission, the crew made a wedge and air pressure adjustment to try to alleviate the tight conditions that were still plaguing Elliott. He started the second segment and was one of the fourteen cars that looked destined to make the final 20-lap shootout when an on-track incident sent Elliott careening into the wall on the final lap. The wreck collected several competitive cars and left the field for the final segment short of a full 14-car field. Elliott suffered injuries from the wreck and was taken to a local hospital for further observation. He sustained three broken bones in his foot.

POINTS RACE UPDATE

* With a top-20 finish at Richmond three weeks ago, Elliott moved from 21st to 19th in the points standings. Elliott is 89 points out of the 15th position and just 146 points out of the top-10.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Ryan Newman , Ted Musgrave , Bobby Allison