Rockingham: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT IT IS TO GO FROM DAYTONA TO ROCKINGHAM "They're two totally different racetracks for one thing. The other is that you certainly don't have the media attention and ...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid

HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT IT IS TO GO FROM DAYTONA TO ROCKINGHAM

"They're two totally different racetracks for one thing. The other is that you certainly don't have the media attention and hype because the 500 is our biggest race of the year. Looking at the tracks, you are going from a two and a half mile fast track to a mile oval where tires are important. It's not that hard to adjust. We do it a lot of times throughout the season. One weekend we could be at a Martinsville and the next we're at a road course."

DAYTONA

"Mike (Ford, team director) and the guys worked hard down there. We improved each day and that's the important thing. We didn't finish where we wanted but we were running up front there for awhile until we got in that mess on pit road. The rain kind of messed us up but you can't help it. The important thing is to take what you learned and move on."

RUNNING AT ROCKINGHAM

"I've always liked Rockingham. We had a good run at this race last year and we had one going at the end of the season until we lost a water pump belt. You'll hear it every week, but it's true, track position will be key, especially at a place like that. You'll hear a lot about tires too. The guys who can save them and stay out of trouble should have a good run."

RACE NOTES

The No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive raced at Rockingham (b) where he finished 39th. He also raced it at Dover (a & b), Darlington (b), Atlanta (b) and Loudon (b). The car's highest finish is second at Dover (a).

CAREER AT ROCKINGHAM

* Sunday's race will mark Elliott's 47th career start at Rockingham. Elliott has earned three wins, two poles, 11 top-fives, 20 top-10s and more than one million dollars in earnings at "the Rock". His most recent victory at the track came in the spring race of 1992 - his 25th visit to the track and 35th career victory. He earned both of his pole positions at Rockingham in 1988.

BEGINNING OF A LEGENDARY CAREER

* Elliott's first Winston Cup start came at The Rock on February 29, 1976. Elliott qualified 34th and finished 33rd in his first event, earning a $640 paycheck in the Carolina 500.

LAST ROCKINGHAM RACE

* In the 2002 fall race at Rockingham, Elliott started the day in the top-10 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.

LAST WEEKEND

* In last week's Daytona 500, Elliott made his 52nd start at Daytona International Speedway - returning to the race where he earned the 2001 pole position in the first race for Ray Evernham as team owner of Evernham Motorsports, and in the first race for Dodge in its return to Winston Cup Series racing. Last Sunday, Elliott was running in second place when a caution flag came out for a spin by the No. 18 car. While on pit road, he was tapped by another car that came in for service. Elliott was forced to re-pit to pull his fenders away from his tires and fell back to 38th. The race ended early for the third time in Daytona's history due to inclement weather and Elliott finished 32nd. He has four wins, five poles, 15 top-fives and 24 top-10s at the track.

CAREER MILESTONE WATCH

* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 697th career Winston Cup Series start. In that time Elliott has amassed 43 wins, 55 poles, 166 top-fives and 307 top-tens. If Elliott continues to start every race, he will make his career start number 700 in the March 16, Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Ray Evernham