Chicagoland: Bill Elliott preview

THOUGHTS ON CHICAGO "Everyone kind of compares Chicago to Kansas. I guess it's because they're both new, but it kind of reminds me of a Michigan or a Las Vegas. Either way, I like them all. Chicago has a little different backstretch than the...

THOUGHTS ON CHICAGO

"Everyone kind of compares Chicago to Kansas. I guess it's because they're both new, but it kind of reminds me of a Michigan or a Las Vegas. Either way, I like them all. Chicago has a little different backstretch than the other ones, but there's always something that's a little different about each one. They're all tracks that kind of suit my driving style so I look forward to going to them."

KEY TO A GOOD RUN

"As usual, track position is key at a place like Chicago. It's a fast racetrack, and I tend to favor those kinds of tracks that are flat and fast. We've brought some good cars here in the past and had some success the couple of times we've raced here. I don't see why we wouldn't be able to continue that. You just never know, though. A lot can happen that's out of your control. Mike (Ford, team director) and the guys have a handle on things and we should be ready to go."

RACE NOTES

Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive chassis No. 38 which was raced at Atlanta, Texas, California and Michigan. His highest finish in the car was fourth at California.

Jim Pohlman, the lead mechanic for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, is from Oak Lawn, Illinois, where he lived for 19 years. Pohlman attended St. Lawrence High School and was a four-year letterman and team captain for the Vikings' football team. Pohlman's grandfather, Bob Pohlman Sr., raced at Soldier Field (Chicago Speedway) in the late 1940's and 50's. Jim is the third-generation Pohlman to be involved in racing.

CAREER AT CHICAGO

This will be Elliott's third career start at Chicagoland Speedway, where he has two top-10 finishes. Elliott's best finish came in the 2002 Tropicana 400 when he finished seventh. He also notched his best Chicago start when he began from the third starting position last year.

IN THE TOP-10

Bill Elliott is the only driver to start and finish in the top-10 in both races at Chicagoland Speedway. He finished 10th in 2001, and followed up with a seventh place run in 2002.

MOST RECENT RUN AT CHICAGO

Elliott knew that track position would play an important role in last year's Tropicana 400 as he started the race from the third spot. On lap 57 he brought the No. 9 Dodge into the pits for the first stop of the day. Once the rest of the field cycled through their stops, Elliott was in fourth place. He would make no major changes to the No. 9 Dodge and the Dodge Squad helped maintain Elliott's track position with fast and efficient pit stops. On lap 242, Elliott pitted for the final time for fuel only. He came out third but three other cars did not come in, putting Elliott in sixth place. His car tightened up in the closing laps but Elliott managed to hold off several hard charging cars for a seventh place finish.

LAST WEEK

In the opening laps of last weekend's Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Elliott reported that his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was handling tight on the bottom of the racetrack. He pitted on lap 34 for an air pressure adjustment but only took two tires, pushing him into the top-10. A caution on lap 63 brought Elliott into the pits again. Opting not to over-adjust the car, Mike Ford (team director) called for four tires only. Elliott didn't get much time to find out how his chassis was handling because a caution came out on lap 75 for an accident.

Some of the leaders didn't pit, but Elliott was forced to pit for a splash of gas with 10 laps to go. He held his ground in the draft until then and was sitting in the top-10, getting as high as fourth when he was forced to pit for the final time. He didn't lose much track position, rejoining the field for the final run at the end in 10th place. As he fought for position in the closing lap, a cluster of cars shuffled him back to the 16th spot. Elliott remains 19th in the Winston Cup points race, but gains valuable ground. He is just one point out of the next position and 226 out of the top 10.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott