Elliott Perseveres To Post Season-Best Finish in Ford 400 Bill Elliott and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion battled back from adversity in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to score the team's best...
Elliott Perseveres To Post Season-Best Finish in Ford 400
Bill Elliott and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion battled back from adversity in the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to score the team's best finish of the year.
Elliott and the team overcame damage to both front fenders of their Ford Fusion. The second incident forced an unscheduled green-flag pit stop that put them a lap down at one point, but they were able to rejoin the lead lap and come home 15th.
"Bill really did a good job," team co-owner Eddie Wood said. "We had to fight back from a lot of things that happened, but he never gave up."
Elliott was involved in two on-track incidents, and although he nearly steered clear of both of them. The first came at Lap 140 when Joey Logano spun, with Elliott nearly squeaking by. The second and most costly incident was an encounter a few laps later than necessitated a green-flag stop for repairs. Elliott and crew chief Donnie Wingo opted to take the wave-around at the next caution period, and the somewhat risky strategy worked as Elliott was back on the lead lap with 75 laps to go.
Starting in 30th place at that point, Elliott and the team began working their way back to the front. A decision to stay on the track as long as possible during a long green-flag run paid off as Elliott was able to make his final stop under the caution period and restart the race in 10th place.
Elliott held on to finish 15th, which meant that his season-best start of fourth came in the same race as his best finish of the year.
"It was just a topsy-turvy day," Elliott said.
Wingo said he was encouraged by the progress the team has made since he signed on as crew chief. "I think everybody has done well with all the transition we've gone through the last two or three weeks," he said. "I hate that we had issues at Charlotte because I think we had a pretty good car there, too.
Wood said a strong finish in the season finale gives his team a measure of momentum heading into the off-season, where the work done back at the shop can make all the difference when the team unloads at Daytona International Speedway in February to start a new season.
"It means a lot for your last memory of the last race of the season to be a good one," he said.
The Wood Brothers and their No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion return to action next February in the 53rd annual Daytona 500, a race they've won four times. The Woods' first victory in the Great American Race came in 1963 with Tiny Lund driving. In 1968 they won with Cale Yarborough, in 1972 with A.J. Foyt and in 1976 with David Pearson, who beat Richard Petty in a finish that many consider the best ever in NASCAR history.