Originally-From: "Mason, Patrick" <email@example.com> KANSAS CITY, Kan., (September 26, 2001) - Don't try to tell Bill Elliott that the shortest distance from point-A to point-B is also the quickest; the 26-year veteran driver will...
Originally-From: "Mason, Patrick" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
KANSAS CITY, Kan., (September 26, 2001) - Don't try to tell Bill Elliott that the shortest distance from point-A to point-B is also the quickest; the 26-year veteran driver will tell you that those rules just don't apply to him.
Elliott has earned all of his eight top 10 finishes this year on racetracls larger than one mile. Six of his eight top tens came on tracks that are two miles or longer. Once given the longer straightaways and higher speeds of the larger tracks, Elliott seems to be passing a lot more traffic in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T.
This weekend as he competes in the inaugural Kansas 400, Elliott will be running on the fast surface of a very smooth Kansas Speedway. He and the No. 9 crew visited the track for testing in May, so look for Elliott to know how to keep his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid at the front of the pack this Sunday.
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
You tested the Goodyear tire at Kansas Speedway earlier this year. What did you think?
"I went to KC for the tire test and I really liked the track. It was a lot like Kentucky and almost identical to Chicago. It's a real nice place. It's really laid out well. I think everyone's looking forward to running there."
Do you think it's important for NASCAR to be expanding to markets like Kansas City?
"From a racing standpoint we definitely need to be going to places like Kansas City. The fans don't really have anything like this in that neck of the woods."
After leaving Kansas, there are only eight races left in the season. How does this change things for drivers?
"I think the competition is closer and that causes everybody to race a little harder and not necessarily smarter. It's just one of them deals that a lot of cars are left running on the lead lap at the end of the race and the problem is a lot of pressure is on a lot of guys to do well. People start sticking it in places they don't need to go."
Bill Elliott By the Numbers
* Though Elliott has never competed at the brand-new Kansas Speedway, he gained valuable experience while testing there in May. Elliott and crew chief Mike Ford both liked the facilities and agreed that the smooth track should make for some fast racing.
* In his last race at Dover Elliott made his 650th Winston Cup Series career start - among active drivers, only Ricky Rudd (721), Dave Marcis (758) and Terry Labonte (699) have more starts. But he and the No. 9 crew saw his memorable day ruined by an incident less than 25 laps into the race. The No. 9 crew worked throughout the race to keep Elliott's Dodge Intrepid R/T on the track, enabling him to extend his streak of races without a DNF to 32, which is the circuit's longest active streak. Elliott finished 30th on the day.
* Elliott and the No. 9 car have been running at the end of all 27 races this year. Only one other Winston Cup Series driver has also finished every race in 2001.
* Elliott and the No. 9 team have earned eight top 10 finishes for the year, including four in their last eight races (fifth at Darlington, third at Michigan, eighth at Indianapolis and fourth at Pocono). With 9 races to go, Elliott has already surpassed last year's season total of seven top 10 finishes. The last time Elliott earned more than seven top 10s in a single season was in 1997 when he earned 13 top 10s.
* With $2,473,239 in official earnings, Elliott is second in total winnings for all Dodge drivers this year (behind Ward Burton). After finishing eighth at Indy, Elliott became the first Dodge driver in history to break the $2 million earnings mark in a single season. By the season's end, Elliott looks to break his career-high yearly earnings record of $2,580,823 from last year.