Dodge Racing Joliet practice quotes

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Elliott led the way in the first practice session Thursday afternoon with a lap of 29.574 seconds, 182.593 mph. Elliott tested at Chicagoland recently and will run the same Dodge...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Elliott led the way in the first practice session Thursday afternoon with a lap of 29.574 seconds, 182.593 mph. Elliott tested at Chicagoland recently and will run the same Dodge chassis that qualified sixth and finished ninth at Michigan earlier this season. The 45-year-old Dawsonville, Ga., native will make his 641st career start at Chicagoland. He has won 50 poles and 40 races in his career.

"It doesn't pay anything to win practice," Elliott said. "We ran 30.50s to 31.50 when we tested up here. We never went in qualifying trim when we tested. We just worked on our qualifying setup in that first practice session. I'd say the pole will be more like a 29 flat. We probably won't work much on qualifying in the last practice today. The track will probably be too cool. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but I think we'll be in pretty good shape tomorrow."

CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Atwood led the way for the Raybestos rookie of the year contenders in the first practice session. Elliott's teammate in the Evernham Motorsports Dodges, Atwood did not test at Chicagoland but still managed a practice lap of 30.137 seconds, 179.182 mph. He was 15th fastest overall.

"The main thing that helped us out a lot was that Bill tested good up here, so we basically just took most of his setup and put it in my car. I ran a whole lot of practice just trying to get used to the track. It's a really, really fun track. It's one of the most fun tracks I've been around. I really like it. It made it easier to get used to it.

"It's a weird shape. The back straightaway is not even straight. It's like you're in a full circle all the time. It reminds me of Vegas a little bit, but it's a little more banked. It's pretty different. It's not really like anything.

"I do this stuff (go to a new track) every week, and now everyone is getting a taste of what the rookies face every week. It makes it a little bit more of a level playing field out here. Nobody has notes. The only people who have an advantage are the people who tested. Because we've got so much practice time today, I think you're going to see the same results. The people who are normally fast, whether they tested here or not, will be fast tomorrow in qualifying. I just hope we can get a pretty good balance in the car and get a good qualifying effort in.

"We were just working on getting used to the track in the first practice. We haven't done our qualifying stuff yet, so we've still got more to go. We might work on it a little bit in the second practice, but mainly tomorrow. We'll get it done then. I don't know what the pole will be, but it'll be pretty fast. I'm probably not going to hold it wide open all the way around, but some people probably will. I think you might have to let up a little bit."

-Dodge Motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup