Talladega: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid MAKING UP TWO LAPS UNDER GREEN IN 1985 AT TALLADEGA "It'll never be broken with the current rules just because we ran unrestricted back then. You had probably 10 cars capable of winning the race and a...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid


"It'll never be broken with the current rules just because we ran unrestricted back then. You had probably 10 cars capable of winning the race and a lot of strokers that were just there kinda making laps. Now you've got 43 plus teams capable of winning that kind of race. If you fall down a lap now you find yourself in a tough position because you're going to be hard-pressed to find somebody to help you. Plus, you've got to have a decent car to get back on the lead lap."


"Talladega and Daytona are two different animals. They're not like any of the other tracks we go to. Sure, I'd love to run unrestricted, but with the package we have now it's just not possible. If you ran unrestricted today, I'd guess that we'd be running somewhere in the 220 range - if not faster - just because of what's gone on over the past few years and what we've learned. Could my record be broken at Talladega? I have no doubt that if we had run unrestricted up until now, then sure, but I think it will probably stand unless they change it."


Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he ran at Daytona in February. Elliott started 14th and finished 32nd when the race was called due to rain.


Elliott has set the fastest recorded qualifying time on three of NASCAR's four fastest racetracks; Talladega, Daytona, Atlanta and Texas.


* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 52nd start at Talladega Superspeedway, tying the most starts Elliott has made at any racetrack on the NASCAR circuit (Atlanta). He has two wins, eight poles, 10 top-fives and 22 top-10 finishes at the track.


* Elliott holds the Talladega records for fastest qualifying time (212.809 mph/44.998 seconds, April 30, 1987) and most pole positions (eight). He also holds claim to the most laps led (523), and most top-10 finishes (22 - tied with T. Labonte) by any active driver at Talladega.


* Elliott is one of only seven drivers to have competed in all 61 restrictor-plate races (Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.)


* Elliott swept six straight poles at Talladega from 1985 through 1987. He earned his most recent pole at the track in the fall race of 1993 - before that, spring of 1990. Both of Elliott's Talladega victories were earned from the pole position ('85a, '87b). In 1985, Elliott won eight of his 11 victories starting the race in the first position (Talladega, Daytona, and twice each at Darlington, Michigan and Pocono).


* In the 2002 fall race at Talladega, the smaller fuel cell rule kept Elliott and the No. 9 Dodge Squad on their toes as a caution-less race forced the team to pit under green throughout the 188-lap event. The rule reduced the amount of fuel that could be added to a car during each pit stop, and with no cautions the Dodge Squad elected to take two sets of tires, loading up on fuel with each stop. Midway through the race, Elliott sat in the 30th spot but moved up quickly and remained in the top-20 throughout the closing laps of the race. Elliott finished in 19th place and on the lead lap.


* In last weekend's Samsung/RadioShack 500 Elliott wasted no time in moving into the lead, passing the No. 38 car on lap three. He maintained the lead through his first pit stop when the Dodge Squad's fast work in the pits kept him in the lead. The No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge led the field until engine trouble on lap 46 ended its day. Elliott finished in 43rd place. He lost five spots in the Winston Cup points race, currently sitting in 33rd place. He is 95 points out of 25th place and 138 points out of 20th place.


* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 703rd career Winston Cup Series start. If he continues to start every race of the 2003 season, Elliott will surpass Bobby Allison to rank sixth on the all-time start list in the fall race at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Elliott is one of only seven drivers to reach the 700-start mark - Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882), Darrell Waltrip (809), Ricky Rudd (774), Terry Labonte (752) and Bobby Allison (717). Elliott is third in overall starts among active drivers.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Michael Waltrip , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison , Mark Martin