Rockingham II: Bill Elliott preview

BILL ELLIOTT NO. 9 DODGE DEALERS INTREPID R/T POINTS RACE "We're a ways out as far as what we can do. Right now we need to concentrate on what we can do better for the next several races. Hopefully we can make it work for next year. Our biggest...


"We're a ways out as far as what we can do. Right now we need to concentrate on what we can do better for the next several races. Hopefully we can make it work for next year. Our biggest deal is, this is a big sport and we need to win races. If we win races and run well the points will take care of themselves. We've come up and had problems the last several weeks. A few things have bit us, bad luck or misfortune or whatever you want to call it. We're definitely not rolling over by any means."

ROCKINGHAM W"We had a decent run there earlier this year. I've been up and down there though. You just never know. If we can start up front and stay out of trouble, we should be okay. Hopefully, we'll have a little better luck this weekend."


* Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he raced last weekend at Atlanta. Elliott ran the same car at Darlington in September when he finished third and at Dover in June when he finished second.

* The No. 9 Dodge Squad is scheduled to compete in the Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition this weekend at North Carolina Speedway. Last season the No. 9 Dodge Squad finished fourth.

* Sunday's race will mark Elliott's 46th career start at Rockingham. Elliott has amassed three wins, two poles, 11 top-fives and 20 top-10s at the speedway. Elliott's 11th place finish at "the Rock" in February helped him break the $1 million mark in money won at the track. 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 has two wins, one pole, seven top-fives and 12 top-10s in the fall race at North Carolina Speedway. Elliott earned his first win at the track in the fall race of 1994 - his 10th start at the track. He earned his second win six races later in the fall race of 1997. His two victories tie him with Rusty Wallace for most wins in the fall race among all active drivers.

* Elliott's first Winston Cup start came at North Carolina Speedway on February 29, 1976. Elliott qualified 34th and finished 33rd in his first event, earning a $640 paycheck in the Carolina 500. He would start seven more races that year, earning a season-high finish of 14th in the fall race at Nashville.

* In February's Subway 400, Elliott spent his day working to improve the handling of the No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T after starting 28th. Crew chief Mike Ford and the Dodge Squad made adjustments to the car, which was tight going into the corners and loose off for most of the day, according to Elliott. Battling through traffic, Elliott patiently picked his way through the field. A late race charge propelled him from the 20th spot to an 11th place finish.

* Last week at Atlanta, Elliott, who is tied for the most victories and poles among active drivers at the track, was able to hold his position in the opening laps despite a distinct vibration in his No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T. A caution on lap five brought Elliott into the pits to check on the problem. The unscheduled stop dropped him to 38th place. With 25 laps completed, the race was stopped due to rain. During the almost two and a half hour rain delay, the Dodge Squad strategized on the source and the solution to the vibration, which appeared to be in the drive shaft or rear end of the car. With the resumption of the race, the Dodge Squad brought Elliott into the pits to try a couple of quick alternatives but ultimately opted not to lose any more laps and kept Elliott running for the remainder of the rain shortened race. On lap 428, the race was called due to rain with Elliott in 33rd place.

* After last week's finish, Elliott loses a spot in the Winston Cup points race, moving to the 12th position. He is just 56 points out of the next spot and 102 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 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 looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did after 32 races last year. Elliott ranks four positions higher, is finishing more than four spots better and is starting more than two spots better in each race in 2002. He also has two more wins, three more poles, two more top-fives, four more top-10s and 163 more laps led than he did with three 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 33 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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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , David Pearson