Elliott Finishes 15th in Rain Shortened Coca-Cola 600 For the first time in fifty years, the Coca-Cola 600 was postponed for one day because of rain. With hot, humid weather, and threatening clouds all weekend, Sprint Cup teams experienced...
Elliott Finishes 15th in Rain Shortened Coca-Cola 600
For the first time in fifty years, the Coca-Cola 600 was postponed for one day because of rain. With hot, humid weather, and threatening clouds all weekend, Sprint Cup teams experienced their first weather problems on Saturday when the second practice was cut short because of rain. Despite not completing the final Saturday practice, the team was confident the car had the proper set-up for long green flag runs and would do well during the 600 mile race.
The teams arrived Sunday with hopes that the rain would somehow miss the track, but that was not the case. After the pre-race activities were completed, the drivers were introduced and the cars were placed on pit road. The Wood Brothers and Bill Elliott had qualified in the 10th position. The race was about to begin -- and then the skies let go with torrential rains. While the teams, the fans, and NASCAR hoped to get the race started, it just wasn't to be. At 8:30 pm. NASCAR officially postponed the race and rescheduled it for 12:00 pm. Monday, May 25.
Unfortunately, the weather conditions hadn't changed much by Monday. The teams and fans were greeted with another hot, humid day. Bill, making his 800th start from the 10th position, was confident in the car's long green flag run capabilities. The car had a looser setup for today's race. This proved to be the right setup as all the cars were getting tight by the end of a run.
The team made adjustments throughout the day that resulted in the #21 running laps as fast as the leaders. Bill stated "I tell you what, that thing is good on a long run. If we would have run all day, I feel like we would have been good. We might not have won the race, but we're competitive. It doesn't start out very good, but I'm telling you, once we get about 25 laps on the tires, that thing comes on."
There were several cautions including: one minor on-track incident; one competition yellow on lap 41; four rain delays; and one NASCAR imposed yellow/red flag on lap 163. On a day honoring our fallen veterans and at a time when President Obama asked the nation for a moment of silence (3:00 pm), NASCAR stopped the Coca-Cola 600 at 3:00 pm on lap 163.
After the moment of silence and another rain delay, the race resumed on lap 178 under threatening skies. On lap 221, the rain brought out yet another yellow flag. Teams were faced with a decision -- stay out and hope the rain will end the race, or come into the pits to make adjustments expecting the race to continue.
The #21 car and many of the other lead lap cars opted to come to pit road expecting the race to continue. The crew took only right side tires and fuel, making a great pit stop of 6.35 seconds. After returning to the track in the 15th position, the rains came for the final time. The rains continued and on lap 227, NASCAR red flagged the race. The Wood Brothers #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion and Bill Elliott finished the race in 15th position with David Reutimann earning the win.
Team Co-Owner Eddie Wood added, "The guys did a great job in preparing this car -- David Hyder, the 21 Team and Ford. It was really good on long green flag runs. Wish we could have run 600 miles."