Dover II: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T COMMENT ON FANS IN GARAGE AREA "We have got to get a balance. I agree the fans need to stay accessible to some extent. I don't go into your office in the middle of your work and ask for autographs...


"We have got to get a balance. I agree the fans need to stay accessible to some extent. I don't go into your office in the middle of your work and ask for autographs or do things to interrupt you. I know it's a fine line, and I understand that, and we've got to work through that. NASCAR has got to help and decide how they want to deal with this. The problem is in today's world we do a three-day weekend. The guys go in there and bust their rear ends and qualify. Bust their rear ends again in practice, then race Sunday. The problems I see is nine times out of 10 most of the drivers are pretty accessible through as much dealings as they do with their sponsorship. There's got to be a way we can satisfy both well and make it work for everybody."

"Dover has been both bad and good to me. Mike (crew chief Ford) and I have had a good rapport there the last several races. We need to concentrate on each and every race, whether it's Dover, Richmond, wherever. I like the racetrack. I liked it better when it was asphalt, but I've got the hang of the concrete now, and I understand Goodyear is coming with a little different tire. That's going to determine a lot of things come Friday morning."

"I think it's going to go down to the final deal. There's been so many different winners. I won two races in a row and then come back and finish in the 20s. Jeff Gordon wins two races and then he's out of the top 10 or 15. It's hard to be consistent. It's going to be the guy who has the least amount of bad luck with five races to go. That's who will win this deal."


Bill Elliott will be driving the same No. 9 Dodge Dealers/ UAW Dodge that he drove at the season's first race in Dover, where he finished second, and the season's second race at Darlington, where he finished third.


* In his last visit to Dover in June, Elliott ran one of his best weekends of the season, qualifying and finishing second. This will be his 38th start at Dover Int'l Speedway. Elliott's four wins at Dover tie him for the most wins at the track among active drivers. He also has three poles, 12 top-fives and 19 top-10s at the track. Elliott set the track record for fastest 500-mile race (125.945 mph, 3 hours, 19 minutes, 0 seconds) in 1990, winning the race from the pole position. He has earned over $1 million in winnings at Dover.

* Last weekend at New Hampshire, Bill Elliott qualified 20th, but used an aggressive start to sit in the 11th position by lap 13. Early rain forced both yellow and red flags, putting the race on hold for two hours. Once the race resumed, Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T was a little free but he would hold on and opt not to make any major adjustments on his first pit stop, taking four tires and fuel. Elliott remained a little loose and would lose some valuable track position in the ensuing laps. With the threat of more rain, the Dodge Squad looked to gain track position as the race neared the midway point and Elliott was running in 16th place. While most of the leaders pitted throughout the next 12 laps, Elliott stayed out, gaining positions until he assumed the race lead on lap 164, earning five bonus points in the Winston Cup points race. The rain wouldn't fall for almost 40 more laps, and Elliott was forced to pit on the next lap. He would battle for track position until the rain finally fell and the caution flag was displayed on lap 199. The race was officially called on lap 207 with Elliott in the 23rd spot.

* Bouncing back... Since his first top-10 finish this season at Las Vegas in March, Elliott has posted a top-ten finish in eight of the 15 races following a finish out of the top-10. He bounced back from a 34th place finish at the New England 300 by winning the next two races, the Pocono 400 and Brickyard 400.

* Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has led laps in five of the past eight races (35 at Pocono, 93 at Indianapolis, six at Michigan, 43 at Darlington, and one at New Hampshire last week.) He has led in 11 races this year for a total of 272 laps. Elliott led nine races in 2001 for a total of 171 laps.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks six spots higher, is finishing more than four spots better in each race, and has two more wins, three more poles, one more top-five and three more top-10s than he did after 27 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott sits in seventh place in the Winston Cup points race, 45 points out of sixth, 124 points out of fifth and 191 points out of the lead.

* Elliott's win at Indianapolis was record-setting as no driver has won from the front row at the Brickyard 400.

* When Bill Elliott won the Pennsylvania 500, he became the all-time winningest driver at Pocono Raceway. Driving the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, Elliott won his fifth race at the 2.5-mile track. It was also the first time this season that a driver has won from the pole.

* Elliott's second-place finish at Dover was his 300th career top-10 finish in 26 years of Winston Cup racing. Elliott has eleven top-10s through the first 27 races in 2002. In 2001 Elliott earned nine top-10s. He earned a career-high 24 top-10s in 30 races in 1984, finishing third in the points standings.

* Elliott's wins at Pocono and Indianapolis were his best finishes since his Nov. 11th victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001. He has 43 victories in his 27 seasons racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon