Rockingham: Bill Elliott preview

Racing at the Rock "We haven't had the best of luck at Rockingham recently. I got in a wreck early on in October. That kind of hurt us a little. I don't know. Hopefully, our luck will turn around this time. We keep learning more and more about how...

Racing at the Rock
"We haven't had the best of luck at Rockingham recently. I got in a wreck early on in October. That kind of hurt us a little. I don't know. Hopefully, our luck will turn around this time. We keep learning more and more about how these Dodge's work and it should help as we keep going forward. Our guys have been working hard, and we're in a lot better position than we were at this time last year. Really, everyone knows that tires and track position are some of the most important things at Rockingham. Having a good run in qualifying will be a factor."

Past Experience
"It's always helps when you've raced a track a lot but that doesn't always mean anything. Tracks change, even throughout the year. Just because you've had success in the past doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to have it all the time. A lot can happen from year to year with a place."

Daytona
"I'm not really disappointed with how we did at Daytona. We were hoping for a little better finish but I can't really complain. We have kind of set a goal of finishing in the top 10 in points this year and we haven't put ourselves in a hole with the first race. We're in 12th right now but I think it's important to come out of the box with a good run and we did that. It really sets the tone for the rest of the season."

STATS & FACTS

Sunday's race will mark Elliott's 45th career start at Rockingham. Elliott has amassed three wins, two poles, 11 top fives, 20 top 10s and over $900,000 in earnings at Rockingham. 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.

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.

In 2001, Elliott started 14th and finished 23rd in the February race. He started 24th and finished 40th in the October race at Rockingham after being caught in an incident on the first lap. Elliott was forced behind the wall for repairs, but returned to finish the race.

Elliott starts off the 2002 season just out of the top 10 in drivers points. He is currently 12th.

In last week's race at Daytona, Elliott made his 50th 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 avoided "the big one" all day to finish 11th in the biggest race of the season. It was his 32nd top-15 finish at the track. He has four wins, five poles, 15 top fives and 24 top 10s at the track.

The Ray Evernham Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Breakfast of Champions this Saturday at the Hilton Charlotte and Towers. This is the foundation's second year as the title sponsor. The autograph session and silent auction is a benefit for the organization which is dedicated to finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, myeloma - and to improving the quality of life of patients and their families.

"The 'Racing for a Reason Foundation' exists to support worthy causes," said Ray Evernham. "Supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is something we have been proud and privileged to sponsor for several years. Their research has made a tremendous difference for those battling blood related cancers. Thanks to their efforts, many people, including my son, Ray J, are beating cancer."

-rem/be-

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