Martinsville II: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T RUNNING AT MARTINSVILLE "The shorter tracks like Martinsville have never really been my strong point, but we had a good run here last time. We almost had the pole. We were good to start the race...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

RUNNING AT MARTINSVILLE

"The shorter tracks like Martinsville have never really been my strong point, but we had a good run here last time. We almost had the pole. We were good to start the race too, but we had some trouble about midway through and we had to come in to get it fixed. If we can stay out of trouble and start up front, that's half the battle at a place like Martinsville."

POINTS RACE

"It's anybody's to win right now. We're pretty much out of it after last weekend, but you can't focus on that. We're top-10 in points right now, and you just have to go in each week and do your best. I can't say enough about my guys. They've worked their tails off. It can wear on you, especially these last few races."

RACE NOTES

* Bill Elliott will be driving the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he drove at the first Richmond race.

* Tracy Lumpkin who drives the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW transporter is scheduled to spot for Bill Elliott during this weekend's practice sessions. Vince Valeriano is scheduled to continue spotting for Elliott during the race.

STATS & FACTS

* This will be Elliott's 40th start at Martinsville Speedway. Though he has never visited victory lane or earned the pole position at Martinsville, Elliott has accumulated 13 top-10s and three top-five finishes in 39 starts at NASCAR's oldest track. He earned his top finish of third in the fall races of' 84 and' 94. His highest qualifying position of second came in the fall race of' 88.

* Bill Elliott nearly put the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T on the pole during the qualifying session at Martinsville this April. His sixth-place qualifying run was his best at the track since April 1996 when he started third. Elliott and the Dodge Squad ran with the leaders until he reported trouble with the front brakes more than 170 laps into the 500-lap race. Elliott was forced to pit to alleviate the problem and had to play catch up with the field, finishing five laps down. He ended the day in 31st place.

* In last weekend's race at Charlotte Elliott slithered into the race with a special design for his No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T. His race car featured a Viper, complete with beady green eyes, scaly red skin and fangs. The special paint scheme was in support of Dodge's 2003 Viper SRT-10. Elliott spent the first 100 laps in the top-10. The Dodge Squad was prepared for the changing track conditions due to the late start of the race. On their first pit stop they took four tires and fuel only. On lap 134, Elliott reported a flat tire that caused extensive damage to his car. The Dodge Squad was forced to retire to the garage to repair it. Elliott was able to return to the track, picking up positions in the closing laps of the race. An incident on lap 230 forced Elliott into the pits for repairs again, but the Dodge Squad was able to repair the damage and sent him back out on the track to make up valuable ground. He finished 35th and remains in eighth place in the Winston Cup drivers points. He is 34 points out of seventh place and 341 points out of first.

* Elliott has excelled on NASCAR's speedways this year. Each of his 12 top-10 finishes in 2002 has come on tracks at least one mile in length. Nine of those top-10 finishes were earned on racetracks 1.5 miles or greater. Elliott's two victories have come on two of the circuit's 2.5-mile tracks.

* Elliott's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has led laps in six of the last 12 races (35 at Pocono, 93 at Indianapolis, six at Michigan, 43 at Darlington, one at New Hampshire and three at Kansas). He has led in 12 races this year for a total of 275 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 nearly five spots better in each race, is starting nearly two spots higher, and has two more wins, three more poles, two more top-fives and four more top-10s than he did after 31 races in 2001.

* Elliott earned his fourth pole position of 2002 (Atlanta, Texas, New Hampshire) at Pocono in August. It was Elliott's 55th career Bud Pole in his 679th Winston Cup race, placing him third behind David Pearson (57) and Darrell Waltrip (59) in Modern-era Winston Cup career poles (Elliott ranks first among active drivers and sixth all-time).

* Elliott's win at Indianapolis was record-setting as no driver has won from the front row at the Brickyard 400.

* When Bill Elliott won the Pennsylvania 500, 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 has 12 top-10s through 31 races in 2002, marking his best output since 1997 when he finished the season with 14 and ranked eighth in the points standings (his most recent top-10 finish in the points race). Elliott earned a career-high 24 top-10s in 30 races in 1984, finishing third in the points standings.

* Elliott's wins at Pocono and Indianapolis were his best finishes since his Nov. 11th victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2001. He has 43 victories in 27 seasons racing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , David Pearson