Bill Elliott knows how to lead the pack at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 16, 2001) -A few tracks on the Winston Cup circuit stand out as Bill Elliott's favorite places to visit; but when it comes to getting the pole, Elliott is the fastest...
Bill Elliott knows how to lead the pack at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 16, 2001) -A few tracks on the Winston Cup circuit stand out as Bill Elliott's favorite places to visit; but when it comes to getting the pole, Elliott is the fastest on NASCAR's biggest speedway, Talladega.
Elliott has had many impressive appearances at the 2.66-mile tri-oval. He holds track records for the fastest qualifying time (212.809 mph, 44.998 seconds, April 30, 1987) and for the most poles by any driver (eight). Elliott has even earned six straight pole positions at the track from 1985 to 1987, and went on to win the first and last of those six races.
Based on his latest runs at Talladega, Elliott is right on pace to earn his 51st career pole position in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T. He has started in the top three positions in his last three events, and has led laps in two of those races.
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
Is patience a key to doing well at Talladega?
"It's going to be key because you're going to have to ride around for so many laps. People tend to get antsy toward the end of the race and that always becomes a problem. You know, you start out where there's a foot or two between the cars, but as the race goes on it gets so there's 18 inches, 12 inches, 6 inches and then they're trying to occupy the same space. You can just tell the closer it gets to the end of the race."
Does it matter whom you draft with at Talladega?
"It doesn't really matter who you run with as long as your cars run well together. It could be anybody. It could be a rookie and a veteran. It could be two rookies. It could be anybody. That's why making deals doesn't always work. You can go through the garage and say I'm going to run with you all day, but you get shuffled out 10 laps to go and you all of a sudden get messed up with that guy and he thinks you put him out to dry so to speak, then he's mad at you. So all the deal making won't help you then. You know it's like when people ask what's your strategy for the first turn. Well, it's simple. You just wait until it unfolds."
Will you use the extra two inches for your No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T this
"I know a lot of teams probably won't use it. We aren't because you don't need downforce at Talladega. You need a low drag car, a car that's good aero wise. The two inches doesn't seem to make that much of a difference aero wise there because you're not at a racetrack where you can run as fast as you want through the corners. Unless it lowers the total drag on the car, a little bit of down force doesn't seem to matter on the nose. Everything's a compromise. At Daytona and Talladega it's a compromise of getting the right balance of the car with the least amount of drag. Everywhere else, you can put as much down force as you can on the car and you don't worry about the drag because you're having to back off when you are going into the corners."
Bill Elliott By the Numbers
* This will be Elliott's 50th start at Talladega Superspeedway, and marks only the second time that Elliott has made 50 Winston Cup Series visits to a single track - Elliott made his 50th start at Charlotte two weeks ago. In his 49 starts at Talladega Elliott has two wins, 10 top fives, and 22 top 10 finishes. Elliott has earned the pole position eight times at Talladega, making him the all-time leader in poles at the track - two ahead of Cale Yarborough.
* Elliott also holds the Talladega track qualifying record of 212.809 mph, 44.998 seconds, April 30, 1987 (Winston 500). He earned six straight pole positions at the track from '85 to '87, and also won the first and last of those six straight races.
* In his last appearance at Talladega Elliott started third, led two laps and ran strong throughout the race. But he ran out of gas with 89 laps to go and received a penalty for too many men over the wall. Elliott was assessed a 15 second penalty in the pits. He fell a lap down and ended the day at 32nd.
* Last weekend at Martinsville, an on-track incident early in the race damaged Elliott's radiator. The car eventually overheated and retired from the race on lap 115. Elliott, who started 21st, would finish in 42nd place.
* Bill Elliott remains 14th in the points standings. He has been in the top 15 for about two-thirds of the season, and within the top 20 for the entire year. His average start is 14.5 and his average finish is 19.7.
* With $2,664,838 in official earnings this year, Elliott has broken his career-high yearly earnings record of $2,580,823 from last year. He is third in total winnings for all Dodge drivers in 2001 (behind Ward Burton and 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.