Indianapolis: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T THOUGHTS ON THE BRICKYARD 400 "Indy is a big race. I've said before that there are really three of four big races throughout the year and the Brickyard is one of them. It's a fun track especially if...


"Indy is a big race. I've said before that there are really three of four big races throughout the year and the Brickyard is one of them. It's a fun track especially if you start up front. We went out and tested there after Chicago for a couple of days. We definitely learned some things that we'll probably put in place this weekend. We were pretty good here last year so we've just got to take that and expand on that with the stuff we learned at testing. The important thing at Indy is going to be getting good track position. Everything else will just kind of fall into place from there."

"Sure I'd love to win it but you don't go into it thinking about that. Indy is one of the big races but I'd love to win every race. You can't really put all the emphasis on winning one race. You can't really think about it like that. Every race is a big race to win. Indy is certainly one of the biggest so in that regards you'd like to win it but I'd like to win any of them."

"I don't have much to go on other than what other people have said, but I think you have to look at the big picture. We've come a long way in a short amount of time with what we're doing in this sport with safety and I think that's the important thing. We're taking the necessary steps and making improvements for later down the road."

"The win at Pocono has been coming. It was just a matter of when and where. I kind of attribute that to the whole team. After the Indy test we learned a lot about a flat track, and in learning a lot that just raises more questions. We came back to the shop and evaluated our information and came up with some conclusions, and the conclusions we came up with were not proven but just directions that we felt strongly about. They were pretty solid. Based on that, we went ahead and applied some things going into Pocono that normally we wouldn't do. We had information from the Indy test. All fingers pointed in a direction and we came back to the shop and had fun with it. We knew if things worked out, we were going to have a very competitive racecar. We wanted to use Pocono as somewhat of a stepping-stone to Indy. Forty percent of the things we learned we applied at Pocono, so that leaves 60% that we can apply for Indy. We're going to open up the bag a little bit more for this weekend and that makes you feel good. We've been in position to win races, but last week we worked as a team."

"We're taking the same car to Indy that we raced at Pocono. I kind of felt confident about it last week. I went and made my rounds and kind of told everyone if we sit on the pole and win the race that things were going to change as far as car selection. So everyone knew that our Pocono car was going to be our Indy car when we showed up Monday morning. The car we're taking has more history than the one we were going to take before last week. It's got two poles and two wins on it now. The car's still very competitive. Not only that, but if I had come in here and told the shop that we were taking something else they would have beat my tail. That's our shop car, everybody likes that car."

* Bill Elliott has three top fives and six top 10s in only eight appearances at the Brickyard 400. His top finish at the track is third, which he earned in both 1994 and 2000. Last year, Elliott finished eighth. Elliott has either qualified or finished in the top 10 at seven of his eight visits to the track-in five Brickyard races he accomplished both.

* Last weekend at the Pennsylvania 500, after rolling off first, the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T was nothing but fast. A caution on the second lap of the race brought out a one-hour red flag delay for repairs to the guard rail on the inside of the track. When the green flag waved again, Elliott assumed and kept the lead from laps 10-25. A pit stop on lap 26 put Elliott in eighth place after various pit stop calls by other teams. On the next lap, rain forced the second red flag of the day. When the field re-fired their engines on lap 27, Elliott wasted no time in cycling through the stops and defending his position among the leaders. He would spend the remainder of the race maintaining and defending the second position. NASCAR's call to shorten the 200 lap race by 25 laps due to reoccurring inclement weather forced some fast recalculating by the Dodge Squad, but crew chief Mike Ford and his team including engine tuner Mike Hawkins and engineers Kenny Francis and Derek Jones, made the right calls and kept Elliott with valuable track position. Elliott reassumed the lead on lap 157 and held on to capture his 42nd career win.

* Elliott continued his record-setting pace during qualifying at Pocono when he pulled off the fastest lap for a second consecutive week at the speed of 170.568 mph. It was Elliott's fourth pole (series leading) this season and his 55th career pole, placing him just four poles away from the all time modern era pole record (Darrel Waltrip, 59).

* Last year at the Brickyard 400, Bill Elliott and the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T finished eighth, giving him his fifth top-10 finish at the track. Elliott, starting in the second position, challenged the No. 26 car from the time the green flag dropped, finally passing him on lap 17 to take the lead. Elliott led for six laps. The pit stop sequence shuffled Elliott through the field, and he spent the rest of the afternoon fighting his way back into the top 10. His eighth-place finish left him in 16th place in the 2001 points race.

* Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has led laps in five of the past eight races (17 at Dover, 26 in June at Pocono, 31 at Michigan, three at Sears Point and 35 in July at Pocono). He has led in eight races this year for a total of 129 laps. Elliott led nine races in 2001 for a total of 171 laps.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks seven spots higher, is finishing more than five spots better in each race, and has one more win, three more poles, one more top-five and four more top-10s than he did after 20 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott sits in 9th place, just 48 points out of eight and 69 points out of fifth.

* When Bill Elliott won the Pennsylvania 500 last weekend, 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 has won from the pole.

* Elliott's second-place finish at Dover was his 300th career top-10 finish in 26 years of Winston Cup racing. Elliott has nine top-10s through the first 20 races in 2002. In 2001 Elliott earned nine top-10s. He earned a career-high 24 top-10s in 30 races in 1984, finishing third in the points standings.

* Elliott's win at Pocono was his best finish since his Nov. 11th victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway last year. He has 42 victories in his 27 seasons racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott