Daytona: Elliott's crew chief looks toward winning the 500

Elliott's Crew Chief Wants A Piece Of Hardware For Himself During Speedweeks DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 4, 2002) -- After Bud Pole Qualifying for last year's Daytona 500 was complete, Mike Ford, crew chief for Bill Elliott's No. 9 Dodge for ...

Elliott's Crew Chief Wants A Piece Of Hardware For Himself During Speedweeks

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 4, 2002) -- After Bud Pole Qualifying for last year's Daytona 500 was complete, Mike Ford, crew chief for Bill Elliott's No. 9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports, found himself in Victory Lane holding Elliott's Marshall Teague trophy, which is awarded to the driver who captures the pole for the Daytona 500.

Ford was beaming with excitement after helping Dodge's comeback begin on a high note. He engineered Elliott's No. 9 Dodge to the prime starting position in the Daytona 500 with a fast lap of 183.565 mph around the 2.5-mile tri-oval

"We worked really hard on Daytona last year with Dodge's comeback and put extra emphasis on qualifying for the Daytona 500 and it paid off," Ford said. "It hurt us down the road the next few races, but for the first race you can give up the second and third race."

Ford will return to Daytona in February for Speedweeks 2002 and the 44th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. He not only wants to repeat the pole-winning performance on Feb. 9, but also win a trophy for himself -- the Cannonball Baker Trophy awarded to the winning Daytona 500 crew chief.

"To go back and try to repeat (the pole), we'll work just as hard," Ford said. "We know we can do it. We've had good luck qualifying on speedway races. We've got a good package there. We feel confident going into the off-season that we'll have a good package for Daytona."

Track activity will heat up once again at the Speedway on Tuesday, Feb. 5 with NASCAR Goody's Dash Series and the True Value/IROC Series. There's no admission charge and a section of the Oldfield Grandstand will be free and open to the public with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.

Bud Pole Qualifying for the Daytona 500 is on Feb. 9. Tickets for Speedweeks 2002 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

-dis-

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Series NASCAR Cup