Phoenix: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T FINISHING OUT THE YEAR "You know, I can go either way at Phoenix. It seems like sometimes I do alright there, and sometimes I don't. We're looking for a good run there this time though. We just need...

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

FINISHING OUT THE YEAR
"You know, I can go either way at Phoenix. It seems like sometimes I do alright there, and sometimes I don't. We're looking for a good run there this time though. We just need to get through these next two races with decent finishes after the string of luck we've seem to run into lately. I think we're all just ready for a break. This is just such a long season and the guys have been working hard and I think we've really come together as a team this year, but I also think we're all ready for a break."

THE PAST THREE RACES
"It seems like we've hit a little stretch of bad luck. You hate to say it but we could use a little to go our way. Last week was just disappointing. The guys worked so hard to get the car where we needed it to be. They were doing their jobs in the pits, giving us track position but there's nothing you can do about it. It just happens. You have to take it and move on."

RACE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP
"You just never know. It looks like Tony might have an advantage, but as you have seen over the these past few months anything can happen."

RACE NOTES

* Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T that he raced at California (finished 10th), Chicago (finished 7th) and at the second Charlotte race (finished 35th).

STATS & FACTS
* Sunday's race will mark Elliott's 15th career start at Phoenix. Elliott has one win, two poles, four top-fives and four top-10s at the raceway. He won from the 13th position in 1989 and started from the pole position in 1993 and 1995. Elliott ranks 10th in money won at the track.

* Last year at Phoenix, Elliott started the day in sixth place and appeared to be on his way to a strong finish until trouble on his first pit stop forced him to return to the pits for a second time. The No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T was shuffled to the back of the pack but Elliott managed to work back into the top 20 until engine trouble cost him track position in the closing laps. He finished in 27th place.

* Last week at North Carolina Speedway, Elliott started the day in tenth place and worked with the Dodge Squad to stay up front. On lap 21, Elliott was riding in the ninth spot when he came in for service and left the pits in the fifth spot. The Dodge Squad continued their consistent work in the pits throughout the day, making wedge and air pressure adjustments to help Elliott adjust his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He was running on the lead lap when a caution on lap 293 brought him in for service. Several laps after the restart on lap 296, Elliott reported trouble. The Dodge Squad pulled the No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T behind the wall and determined that the water pump belt had broken. The crew was forced to retire the car due to the damage, leaving Elliott in 39th place on the day.

* After last week's finish, Elliott loses a spot in the Winston Cup points race, moving to the 13th position. He is just 28 points out of the next spot and 154 points out of the top-10.

* Elliott has excelled on NASCAR's speedways this year. Each of his 12 top-10 finishes in 2002 has come on a track 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 looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did after 34 races last year. Elliott ranks three positions higher, is finishing more than three spots better and is starting almost two spots better in each race in 2002. He also has one more win, two more poles, one more top-five, three more top-10s and 104 more laps led than he did with two races to go in the 2001 season.

* 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 had won from the pole.

* Elliott has 12 top-10s through 34 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