BRISTOL, Tenn., (August 21, 2001)-Bill Elliott said that he expected the second half of the season to run a little better for his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T - and he's beginning to prove himself right. Elliott has been at his fastest since...
BRISTOL, Tenn., (August 21, 2001)-Bill Elliott said that he expected the second half of the season to run a little better for his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T - and he's beginning to prove himself right.
Elliott has been at his fastest since turning the halfway point at Daytona in July. He has earned three top 10 finishes in his last four races, including a season-high third at Michigan last week. He started in the lead row at Indianapolis and Michigan's second race, and earned top five finishes in the second races at Pocono and Michigan.
Now, with his engines primed and the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T team red hot from the recent success, Elliott wants to prove to Bristol that he's just getting warmed up.
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
What's it like to race in Bristol's night race?
"That's the kind of place where if you're hooked up good, it's a lot of fun. If you ain't, it can be miserable. I kind of enjoy it. Once you get settled in and get going in the race, and if you're halfway decent, it can be an enjoyable night. There again, it can be a full moon type of night, too. Demons can get you. It really doesn't matter if you're racing there in the daytime or at night. If you're hooked up, it's great day or night. If not, it's miserable."
What are your thoughts on the track?
n"I didn't like the concrete there at first, but I think I've kind of got the hang of it now. It's just like Dover. I didn't like it there when they first put the concrete down. You have to change the setup a little bit for the concrete. It doesn't seem to give up quite as fast as the asphalt tracks.
"I think the key for us and everybody else at Bristol will be survival. Really, that's the way it is just about everywhere anymore. I love the people at Bristol. The track can be good or bad, but that's grass roots racing. It's the kind of racing people love. I've run good on a lot of short tracks, but I guess the speedway stuff has always been my forte.
"I started out racing on the short tracks, but I didn't race on a lot of them. I used to run real good at North Wilkesboro and the old Richmond track. We've had some good runs at Bristol, too, and hopefully we'll run good there Saturday. It's hard to pass and it really helps to get a good starting spot, so qualifying will be important. We'll give it our best shot and see what happens."
nBill Elliott By the Numbers
*In his 35 appearances at Bristol, Elliott has one win, one pole, six top fives and 13 top 10 finishes. His most recent top 10 finish at Bristol's came in the track's first race in 1997 when he finished seventh. In Bristol's first race this year, Elliott started 12th and finished 17th despite sustaining some damage in an early-race collision that put him back to 39th place. He made up two lost laps and 22 positions throughout the race to earn a top 20 finish on the cramped confines of the half-mile track.
*This will be Elliott's 647th start in a NASCAR Winston Cup points event. If he makes every race, his 650th start will be when he returns to New Hampshire International Speedway for the New Hampshire 300 on September 16th.
*Last week at Michigan, Elliott earned a season-high third place finish at Michigan's Pepsi 400. He led 57 laps, the most of any driver, and earned the honor along with 10 bonus points for the first time this year. It was the sixth race in 2001 in which Elliott has lead a lap. Elliott remains 16th in the points standings. His average start for the year is 13th and his average finish is 18th.
*Elliott and the No. 9 team have earned seven top 10 finishes for the year, including three in their last four races (fourth at Pocono, eighth at Indianapolis and third at Michigan). With 13 races to go, Elliott has already matched last year's season total of seven top 10s. The last time Elliott earned more than seven in a single season was in 1997 when he earned 13 top 10s.
* With $2,169,742 in official earnings this year, Elliott is second in total winnings for all Dodge drivers this year (behind Sterling Marlin). After finishing eighth at Indy, Elliott became the first Dodge driver in history to break the $2 million earnings mark in a single season.