Preseason Test: Elliott, Glover - Dodge interview

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 39 Coors Dodge Charger) "My first plan is to run the Budweiser Shootout in Chip Ganassi's Coors' sponsored Dodge. It's kind of a retro paint scheme from the same kind of paint scheme I had in 1985. It's got a 3 on it, so maybe...

BILL ELLIOTT (No. 39 Coors Dodge Charger)

"My first plan is to run the Budweiser Shootout in Chip Ganassi's Coors' sponsored Dodge. It's kind of a retro paint scheme from the same kind of paint scheme I had in 1985. It's got a 3 on it, so maybe the 3 and 9 will work well together. I'm looking forward to running it. It's an opportunity for me to get more seat time. I don't want to run a lot this year, but I want to run a little more than I did last year. I think with the schedule Ray's got put together for us and being able to have the opportunity to run Chip's car down here... Ironically, it's not the first time I drove for Chip. I drove Chip's IndyCar back in the early 90s. I've got a picture with him on the wall with Eddie Cheever when I drove his IndyCar. It was a Target sponsor. Coming back to Daytona with all the history we made back in 1985, it's a great opportunity for us and I'm looking forward to having a great reunion.... I never drove for Tony (Glover), but I'm sure Sterling's got him pretty well in place. Getting reunited with my brother Ernie doing the engines is another great opportunity. It's a lot of memories coming back and putting it together here for Daytona. There are no plans to run the Daytona 500 right now, but maybe down the road we will again. We'll see what happens."

WILL IT HAVE THE SAME SPEED THE 85 CAR HAD AT DAYTONA?

"If we could somehow get rid of the restrictor plate we'd be in pretty good shape. Right now I don't think we can take NASCAR out of that. We'll do some drafting practice tomorrow to see how things go, and I'm looking forward to that. We'll see if we can't get things put together to run well when we come down here in a couple of weeks."

COMMENT ON NEW DAYTONA INFIELD

"When they talked about this when we were down here for the Fourth of July race and I saw some of the sketches of what they were doing, it's pretty amazing what they've done here. It'll really be fan friendly. I don't know if the crew chiefs are going to like it that well, but I'm sure the fans are going to absolutely love it. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to get really down close personal with what's going on, especially leading up to the Daytona 500 and how hard these guys work and what they put into to try to win this race."

HOW MANY RACES WILL YOU RUN THIS YEAR?

"I hope to run about 10 or 12 not counting the Bud Shootout. I think right now we're up to about seven, and I think we'll end up with 10 or 12. I think we'll start at California. We plan on running Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte 600, one of the Michigan races. Chicago, Texas in the fall and I can't remember the others. It's about one a month. With the crew we've got it's hard to put it much tighter than that. It really spreads those guys thin."

COULD YOU ELABORATE ON THE GANASSI INDY CAR?

"I had the opportunity to practice one of his IndyCars at Michigan back in the early '90s. One of the Bosch guys, Wolfgang, got me the opportunity. I went up there and had a good time. At that time I think when we ran our stock cars, our average was about 165. I ended up running about 210 around there in one of his cars. I ran it about 8 or 10 laps, and I really enjoyed it. They asked if I'd like to come back and run it, and I told them I would like to come back and do it when they were testing to learn more about the car, but I never had the opportunity to do it."

WAS RUNNING FOR GANASSI OK WITH RAY EVERNHAM?

"I had talked to him before Chip and I got together. I asked him if some other opportunity came up and he said, 'that's fine.' He has his stuff in place, and we really didn't have anything for the Bud Shootout as we did last year. So, this was an opportunity for us to come down here. For me, it knocks that little bit of rust off the edges. I had an opportunity to run here in July with the C-2 program with Coke, and I just enjoy running here. It's a racetrack unlike Talladega. If you've got a car that handles well with just a little bit of speed you can beat the rest of the competitors."

WHAT'S IT LIKE GOING INTO YOUR LAST SEASON OF FULL TIME RACING?

"I've never won at Martinsville and Rusty has. It's kind of a double-edged sword. Daytona is a special race. It's kind of the Super Bowl, the pinnacle of our racing. This starts it off and Indy is the second half, but I really don't know what they go through. There's opportunities where you run well at certain places and just can't seem to get in victory lane for whatever reason. Rusty and Mark both have run well here over the years, but just haven't found the luck or combination that's put them in victory lane."

MEMORIES OF OLD DAYTONA GARAGE

"I was probably the one who was in here the earliest back in the early '80s. I was in here earlier than anybody. The old garage was unique and to come in here and not see it is like, it's not the same Daytona I've always known. I know things have got to change. It's kind of like if you look at the history of losing North Wilkesboro and then Rockingham, you look at all the memories, especially as far back as I go in this sport, and come here and see a whole different era and try to get used to what's around you, it's a whole different field. The new guys, you come in and the changes are just a part of what you're doing. For me, you spend all those years and looking at the old garage I was all the way in one end and went all the way to the other end from being so far back in points and not running very many races to winning the championship and being able to be the first stall in the garage. It's got a lot of special memories. I came here in the late 70s and was able to start carving out some kind of future for myself. By the early 80s we started putting things together and by 85 we came down here and ran 205. By 87 we came down here and ran 210. I think of all the things that impressed me by looking at the stats of my career to be able to run 210 here was a feat.... Just to give you a little background on where I'm coming from, I was here when Cale tried to run the second lap over 200 and he didn't make it out of turn four. The day I left pit road when I ran both in 85 and 87, I said, 'man, I don't know if I'm going to make it back.' Those were the kind of thoughts you had. Today, you don't even think things like that. The evolution of where the track has come and gone and restrictor plate racing is so much different than what we were doing is so much different from the open plate stuff, but there are a lot of memories here. A lot of good things have happened, and it's been a good part of my career."

HAVE YOU CUT BACK ON SNOWBOARDING?

"I think I put in a lot of days this year. I spent five at Thanksgiving, two weeks at Christmas, and I just came back from five days out there, so I haven't cut back much. It helps (to stay in shape)."

TONY GLOVER (Crew chief No. 39 Coors Dodge Charger)

"Anybody that wouldn't be excited to work for Bill Elliott really doesn't need to be in this sport. >From our standpoint we're extremely excited about it. It gives us another opportunity to race and any time you've got an opportunity to race. Anytime you've got an opportunity to race with a guy like Bill Elliott you've got an opportunity to win.

MEMORIES OF OLD GARAGE

"I remember coming down here when I was just a kid and being in the old Late Model Sportsman garage, and sneaking into the Grand National garage and walking around looking at the cars. I was just amazed and in awe of seeing some of those guys in there. To one day make it in there, I guess that's been near 25 years of my life in that garage area. I have a lot of special memories of that place. I've been pretty fortunate at this track. I've been in there several times for post-race inspection. Like Bill said, to some of the newer guys who have been through that garage only one or two times it's probably a little bit different than spending 25 years in it."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Eddie Cheever , Chip Ganassi