BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Elliott won his second straight pole Friday and his fourth of the season. It was also Elliott's fourth career pole at Pocono and his 55th career pole in 679 starts. Elliott ranks ...
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Elliott won his second straight pole Friday and his fourth of the season. It was also Elliott's fourth career pole at Pocono and his 55th career pole in 679 starts. Elliott ranks third in the modern era with his 55 poles behind Darrell Waltrip (59) and David Pearson (57). Elliott has nine top-five qualifying runs this season and 12 top 10s. Eight of his last nine qualifying attempts ended up with top 10 starting spots and seven of those eight were top fives.
"Pocono has been good to me throughout the years. I've enjoyed racing here. It's a different kind of race track from what we run week in and week out. Since I came here the first time, I've run pretty decent here. You have to change your style here with the times. You try to outrun these youngsters every week and that gets tough. Mike Ford (crew chief) and all the guys do a real good job putting it together. We'll throw some things at it in the morning and try to figure out which direction we want to go on Sunday.
"Everything has gotten better. The engine is better, the chassis is better. Aerodynamics are better. The tires are better. It equates to more speed and you've got to figure out how to get the optimum out of that. It's a never ending evolution. Since I came on board with Ray (Evernham), I've been able to have the technology there to bring it all together, and it's really been neat. As far as the race is concerned, we've had our ups and downs and we need to try to put it all together and run 500 miles. The last race (at Pocono) we ended up about 20 laps short.
"You keep chipping away at it. It (pole) gives you not only good track position but a good pit selection on Sunday. All that starts to equate.... Hopefully it'll all come together. Last week we had a problem and it wasn't anybody's fault. It was just one of those situations that happens in a race car. We've just got to forget about the past and concentrate on what our mistakes are and work on the next group of races. There's a lot left before the end of the season."
"It all depends on how you get your car worked out. It might work better in turn one, you might work better in the tunnel turn and you might work better in three. The last race I was pretty good in turn one, so-so through the tunnel and through turn three. I was able to make up some ground in turn one. This race it might be different. I might be better in turn three. We'll sort through our changes tomorrow and get ready for Sunday.
"Most of the guys will adjust as the day goes on. A lot will depend on what tomorrow brings, what the temperature does, what the track does. We've got some pretty good notes here from the last race. We'll attach those notes to what we learn tomorrow and decide what we start Sunday with. We'll check the temperature and see what it's going to be.
"Everything was still in the parameters of what they told me to look for, the temperature and all of that. I kept digging (second lap of qualifying).
"I used to think about 165 (mph) was the limit (at Pocono), 160 even. It just depends on the technology, what the next five years dictate, what NASCAR decides to do and how Goodyear changes the tires, aerodynamics. All that is going to equate on speed one way or the other, whether it's a plus or minus.
"I don't think it'll be any different. It's always been noted as an engine track, and a lot of guys have problems engine-wise or transmission-wise. You run so long. It takes so long to make a lap here. The race pace slows down to where you're on the race track a long time Sunday afternoon. It equates to being hard on the equipment. I think we've got a good handle on what happened to us here last race. The engine guys are confident in what they've done and they're on to whatever happened. What happened to my car is the same thing that happened to Jeremy's (teammate Mayfield). We're going in a good direction."