BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) "It's all about teamwork. You never know who's going to beat you or who's going to run good when qualifying starts. We just kept working with it, getting a little better. We made a lot of ...
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
"It's all about teamwork. You never know who's going to beat you or who's going to run good when qualifying starts. We just kept working with it, getting a little better. We made a lot of changes right before qualifying and ironically it was in a good direction. We picked up a little bit. A lot of guys lost. That's typical here at New Hampshire. You go out on cold tires and try to get hooked up. I told Mike (crew chief Ford) I couldn't run but a 29.20. That's what I seemed to run about every lap, between a .20 and .25. Mike Hawkins, the motor man, came over and said he wanted a 29 flat. I said, 'OK, I'll do the best I can.' Ironically, it was just a little under that. It's all about teamwork. I'm proud of my guys and what they've done. We've all worked hard here the last several months. I'm sure from Mike (Skinner) to Rusty (Wallace) to Ryan (Newman) it's all about the crew and what they put under you each and every week. Right now, I'm happy with where I'm at. Ray (car owner Evernham) has done a great job. I feel like he's one of the best car owners in the garage area. He pretty much leaves us alone. He gives us the necessary tools to go race week in and week out. I've missed that over the last several years, trying to run my own deal. It's a tough situation, but right now I'm very comfortable with where I'm at and I'm very proud of what my guys have done.
"I've never liked to go out early here. It's a race track that lends inself to the later draw for whatever reason. If you get to a 25-30 range, toward the end tends to be a good place. I feel like the track got a little better as it went along, but how much I have no idea. I feel like when the sun went in and it got cooler the track got better.
"I'm sure tomorrow in practice we'll test the track and see where we can go and how the track will lend itself to racing. I watched the Busch race here earlier this year, and it seemed to be some pretty good racing. We'll just have to see.
"I've been up and down at this race track. I've struggled. When we unloaded, I was totally out of control. I really hoped I didn't have to drive it all day like I was running then. Yet, as I said, the guys kept working on it and it got better. These guys are very adaptable, and I think that's what separates Busch from Winston Cup. Plus, maybe the guys that have been here for a period of time had a particular setup and it didn't work as good as the guy that came in with a new deal and didn't know what he was looking for. We came here pretty much with a whole different deal anyway.
"I contribute it to the guys on the team and where we're at right now. I can't say enough about how well our team has come together. We all communicate well, we're all going in a good direction. That could all turn around tomorrow, but right now we've got a year and a half working together and Ray has made some adjustments along the way. This group now I guess has been together about a year or so and it seems like we've turned the corner. Those guys have confidence in me and vice versa.
"We're still on a long stretch. We've got a lot of races to go and whether you make it up (253-point deficit to leader Sterling Marlin) or not, I have no idea. We've got to attack each and every race and see how well we can run week in and week out, and that's going to take care of itself.
"It's great they made some changes here, and we'll see how practice goes tomorrow as we test the waters. It ain't me. It's those guys. They work their guts out week in and week out. We went to Indy and tested hard for two days. At the end of the day, everybody's tongues were hanging out. To come here and start out struggling and we kept working and put it all together. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I go out there and put out 100 percent and they put out 200 percent."