Charlotte II: Bill Elliott preview

KANSAS RUN "The guys did a great job last weekend. Our Dodge was good all day long. We never made one adjustment on it. We just came up a little short at the end, but I can't say enough about my guys. They did a great job all weekend. They took...


"The guys did a great job last weekend. Our Dodge was good all day long. We never made one adjustment on it. We just came up a little short at the end, but I can't say enough about my guys. They did a great job all weekend. They took what we learned from the test and were able to give me a car capable of winning."


"We started out okay the last time. We got the pole for the Winston. Unfortunately, we were at a little bit of a disadvantage for the 600 because my foot was broken. We'll just have to see. Everyone's talking about what difference it will make racing at night for the entire race, but I just don't know that it will effect things that much."


Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive chassis No. 54 this weekend at Charlotte. Elliott raced this chassis in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 where he finished fifth, and at Dover (b) where he ran 14th.



This will be Elliott's 54th 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.


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 this year's Winston all-star race was a record fifth pole for the NASCAR veteran in that event.


Bill Elliott's second-place run at Kansas was his sixth top-five finish of 2003. Elliott earned his sixth and final top-five of 2002 by finishing fifth at Kansas last year. The last time Elliott earned more than six top-fives in a season was 1992 (14).


Elliott led 115 of the 267 laps raced at Kansas last weekend, the first time that he has led the most laps in a race since Indianapolis in August 2002.


After earning his sixth top-five finish of the season at Kansas, Elliott gained valuable ground in the Winston Cup points race. He advances two spots to the 13th position - his highest ranking of the season. He remains 129 points out of the top-10.


In this year's Coca-Cola 600, Elliott, who was suffering from injuries sustained one week earlier in The Winston, showed his resolve throughout the weekend by remaining in his No. 9 Dodge. His broken foot was immobilized by several apparatuses including special insoles and a carbon fiber shell outfitted to the outside of his shoe to keep his foot from bending and causing more damage to the bones. Elliott spent the weekend adjusting to the design, which forced him to use his right foot to brake (a style he normally doesn't employ). Elliott began the event under partly sunny conditions, which caused his car to handle tight and loose in turns three and four. As the evening progressed, the Dodge Squad worked to correct the condition but continued to fight loose handling in turn three throughout the evening. Elliott was caught a lap down after caution came out during pit stop cycles. He fought to maintain his track position and the crew made a shock adjustment just before rain caused a red flag on lap 275 that eventually ended the event.


Elliott continued his impressive qualifying run at Kansas Speedway last weekend, adding his third top-10 start (eighth) in as many races. It didn't take long to determine that Elliott was the man to beat, as the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was impressive all day long. For the third consecutive race at Kansas, the Dodge Squad made no adjustments to Elliott's chassis, proving just how "dialed in" Mike Ford and the crew prepared the car. The No. 9 Dodge, with the image of Simba from the highest grossing animated film, The Lion King, assumed the lead for the first time on lap 18 and at one point held an 11-second lead over the next competitor. Ford used four-tire and gas only calls throughout the course of the race. The Dodge Squad once again proved why they are five-time winners of the pit crew competition, keeping Elliott from losing valuable ground on pit road. Elliott assumed the lead for the second time on lap 64 after the field cycled through green flag pit stops. After a caution on lap 70, Elliott relinquished the lead for a pit stop. Elliott never fell out of the top 15, and on lap 131 he resumed the lead again and held it for 69 of the next 70 laps. A pit stop just inside 200 laps put Elliott back in the pack. He spent the ensuing laps mowing down the competition. With 10 laps to go, Elliott was sitting in the second spot, stalking the leader. His bid for his fourth Evernham Motorsports win fell just car lengths short, the third time in the span of five races, a red Dodge missed victory lane by car lengths. Elliott led four times for a total of 115 laps, gaining him valuable bonus points for leading the most laps.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott