Elliott and the Woods Have Come Close at Kansas Speedway September 29, 2010 - In scanning the NASCAR record books and looking at tracks where the Wood Brothers' Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has had success in its 60 years in the sport, places like...
Elliott and the Woods Have Come Close at Kansas Speedway
September 29, 2010 - In scanning the NASCAR record books and looking at tracks where the Wood Brothers' Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has had success in its 60 years in the sport, places like Daytona, Atlanta and Michigan immediately come to mind.
But the Woods, and their current driver Bill Elliott, have also had strong runs at one of the newer tracks, Kansas Speedway, where this weekend they'll compete in the Price Chopper 400.
In 2004 the Woods, with Ricky Rudd at the wheel of the Motorcraft Ford, came within inches of scoring the victory. Joe Nemechek's official margin of victory over Rudd was a tiny .081 seconds.
The Motorcraft/Quick Lane team has two other top-10 finishes at Kansas, both with Rudd driving. And in the entire nine years that Kansas has been on the Sprint Cup schedule, the Woods' Ford has been outside the top 25 just once.
Elliott, likewise, has had success at Kansas, even though most long-time NASCAR fans associate him with the same historic tracks as they do the Woods.
Like his current team, Elliott has a runner-up finish at Kansas, in 2003, when he led the most laps, 115, but finished second to Ryan Newman. In six career races at Kansas, he has four starts inside the top eight, two top-five finishes and an average finish of 17.8.
"I love Kansas," Elliott said. "It's one of my favorite tracks."
He said he believes he and his David Hyder-led crew can use one of his better tracks to generate momentum for the final stretch run of the season.
"I hope we can build on what we've learned," Elliott said. "I know Hyder and the guys have been working hard to make our Ford Fusion competitive."
Elliott also said he knows his crew will be thinking pit strategy since Kansas races have a history of coming down to fuel mileage contests. In 2006, race winner Tony Stewart crossed the finish line out of fuel and coasting at about 45 miles per hour. And in the Woods favor, few in the sport are better at figuring out gas mileage strategies than Wood Brothers team co-owner Len Wood.
"At Kansas, it comes down to fuel mileage ever so often," Elliott said, adding that the old strategies have to be modified to account for NASCAR's current rules and current car. "You have to allow for a green-white-checkered finish."
Elliott also pointed out that as the Kansas track has aged and the racing surface has become more worn and abrasive, it's made for better racing.
"Like other tracks, it's gotten more conducive to running a higher line, and the tires give up more," he said.
And when it comes to qualifying, Kansas Speedway tends to be more driver-friendly than some venues.
"It's one of the easier tracks to qualify on," he said. "It's more forgiving than most."