Elliott Hopes His Crossing At The Glen Includes A Checkered Flag WATKINS GLEN, NY, (August 7, 2001) - In the second half of the 2001 season, Bill Elliott's performance is on par with the color of his Dodge Intrepid R/T - red hot. Elliott has...
Elliott Hopes His Crossing At The Glen Includes A Checkered Flag
WATKINS GLEN, NY, (August 7, 2001) - In the second half of the 2001 season, Bill Elliott's performance is on par with the color of his Dodge Intrepid R/T - red hot.
Elliott has collected one top five and three top 10s in his last four races. He has led in the last two races, and has brought home a fourth place finish at Pocono and eighth place finish at the Brickyard.
He hopes that his momentum will continue to pick up speed this weekend when he makes his 15th visit to Watkins Glen International. The Glen has been a place of both highs and lows for Elliott. He earned a handful of top fives there in his career, but the track is still on Elliott's list of places to visit victory lane.
Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
Were you satisfied with your run at Indy?
"I felt like we had a really good car at Indy, but I don't know if we had the car to win. It's hard to tell. Everyone waits around at a longer racetrack like Indy. You don't want to blow your engine before you show everything you've got. It was great to run first and second with Casey Atwood this weekend. It was good, but it just wasn't at the right time."
"Every week we're learning something. But the learning curve has got to go up with the NASCAR ruling change. We've got to just keep stepping up. Everything is getting more and more in place on our end. Everything is starting to come together. We've got good people. I think Ray has really put some good people in place, here. We just need to keep the momentum going. That's what we need to do.
What does it take to run well at Watkins Glen?
"I always like road courses for a change of pace. My favorite road course is the road home, but I like the Glen just fine. Watkins Glen is totally different than Sears Point, though. It takes a good setup and good gear ratio to run at Watkins Glen, and with the Dodge maybe things will be a little different. I've been decent there. I've been up and down the scale. Hopefully, that will change this weekend. The rules change will probably help some. We probably should have tested there. Hopefully we can just go in there and hit it pretty close, but you never know."
What is driving the momentum for the No. 9 team the second half of the season?
"It's been good to turn things around a bit. It's easy to just throw in the towel. It's easier to run up front than it is to run in the back. Anyone will tell you that on both ends of this business. I don't know that I've changed my style of driving. You know, if you've got the car to do it, you do it. But if you don't, instead of driving offensively you're driving defensively. We're working with some good equipment. Ray has things pointing in the right direction and we're just trying to put some momentum to it. Hopefully, then we'll be running some races that are more satisfying."
Are you starting to think about returning to Michigan?
"Michigan's one of my favorite tracks. But it's two weeks away, and we've got to take this one step at a time. I've been in this business too long to plan that far ahead. We've just got to keep the momentum going week to week. We need some good tests and some good runs. That's all that matters."
Bill Elliott By the Numbers
* Bill Elliott has three top fives and five top 10s in his 14 Winston Cup Series appearances at Watkins Glen. His top finish at the track is third, which he earned in his third visit to the track in 1988. Elliott has either qualified or finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 14 visits to the track-in three Glen races he accomplished both ('88, '93 and '97).
* Presently, Elliott and the No. 9 team have earned three top 10 finishes in their last four races and six overall for the season. They finished fifth at Daytona, ninth at Michigan and Sears Point, 10th at Chicagoland, fourth at the second race at Pocono and eighth at Indianapolis.
* This will be Elliott's 645th 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.
* After his top 10 finish at Indy, Elliott moved up the points standings to tie Jeff Burton with 2,278 points. Elliott stays at 16th in the standings since Burton has won this season. His average start is 13th and his average finish is 18.9. With $2,002,941 in official earnings this year, Elliott has become the first Dodge driver in history to break the $2 million earnings mark in a single season.