Homestead: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T WINNING FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH DODGE AND EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS LAST YEAR AT MIAMI "It certainly was a big win for us. It was our first with Dodge and for Ray, so in that regard it was special....

BILL ELLIOTT
NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T

WINNING FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH DODGE AND EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS LAST YEAR AT MIAMI

"It certainly was a big win for us. It was our first with Dodge and for Ray, so in that regard it was special. It's a part of the history with Dodge coming back to Winston Cup racing and for Ray building Evernham Motorsports. You tend to remember wins like that a little bit more. We worked hard to get there, and I think it definitely gave us some momentum going into this season."

ENDING THE SEASON

"It seems like we've run into a little bit of bad luck here at the end. We'd like to finish out the season on a good note and take some of that momentum into next season, kind of like we did last year. The guys have worked hard and it'd be nice to go down to Miami and get out of there with a good run."

CHAMPIONSHIP

"It's a good race and a lot can happen this weekend. There are a lot of guys who can move up or down in the points. Like I've said before, it's Tony's to lose but it looks like it's going to be pretty tough for Mark to knock him out of the championship. You never know though, a lot can happen. I'd be happy for either one of them to win it."

RACE NOTES

* Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he drove in last year's Miami race (started first and finished first) at the second Pocono (started first and finished first) and at Indianapolis (started second and finished first) and at Kansas (started fifth and finished fifth).

STATS & FACTS

* Sunday's race will mark Elliott's fourth career start at Homestead. Elliott has one win, one pole, one top-five and one top-10 at the speedway - all of which was earned in the 2001 race. He won from the pole position in 2001. Elliott ranks third in money won at the track.

* Last year at Homestead, Elliott, who gave Ray Evernham his first win as a team owner, took advantage of a late caution to pull off the win. It was his first visit to victory lane since September 4, 1994. Elliott started the race from the pole. It was his 51st career pole and his second of the season. "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" led the event three times for a total of 59 laps. Consistent pit stops and a call by crew chief Mike Ford to take two tires during the last caution sent Elliott out of the pits in second place behind teammate Casey Atwood. A late caution put Elliott behind Jeff Burton. The No. 9 was able to move around him for the Dodge Squad's first win.

* Last week at Phoenix International Raceway, Elliott started 14th for the 312-lap event. He remained in the top-15 until trouble in the pits on his first stop pushed him back to the rear of the field. He would battle tight handling conditions back in the pack for the remainder of the day as the Dodge Squad continued to make adjustments to Elliott's Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Trouble in the pits throughout the day held Elliott back in the field. He finished 30th on the day.

* Elliott remains 13th in the Winston Cup points race with 4,012 points. He is 82 points out of the next spot and 205 points out of the top-10. Elliott has ranked in the top-15 all season. He sat in the sixth position after Las Vegas and spent 17 consecutive races in the top-10 from May 26th through October 13th. Elliott's lowest standing of the season was 14th following the Darlington race in March.

* Elliott has excelled on NASCAR's speedways this year. Each of his 12 top-10 finishes in 2002 has come on a track at least one mile in length. Nine of those top-10 finishes were earned on racetracks 1.5 miles or greater. Elliott's two victories have come on two of the circuit's 2.5-mile tracks.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did after 35 races last year. Elliott ranks two positions higher, is finishing more than two and a half spots better and is starting almost two spots better in each race in 2002. He also has one more win, two more poles, one more top-five, three more top-10s and 104 more laps led than he did with one race to go in the 2001 season.

* Elliott earned his fourth pole position of 2002 (Atlanta, Texas, New Hampshire) at Pocono in August. It was Elliott's 55th career Bud Pole in his 679th Winston Cup race, placing him third behind David Pearson (57) and Darrell Waltrip (59) in Modern-era Winston Cup career poles (Elliott ranks first among active drivers and sixth all-time).

* 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 had won from the pole.

* Elliott has 12 top-10s through 35 races in 2002, marking his best output since 1997 when he finished the season with 14 and ranked eighth in the points standings (his most recent top-10 finish in the points race). Elliott 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 27 seasons racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Casey Atwood , Ray Evernham , David Pearson