Talladega II: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T RUNNING 212 AT TALLADEGA "If you look at it at Daytona and Talladega, I was disappointed that I didn't run faster that day because of what we accomplished at Daytona. We ran 210 at Daytona, and I was...

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

"If you look at it at Daytona and Talladega, I was disappointed that I didn't run faster that day because of what we accomplished at Daytona. We ran 210 at Daytona, and I was hoping for 214 or 215 at that particular time. If you unrestricted the cars today, I'd dare say they'd be running 220 if not better over what we've learned the last four or five years. You never have an idea because too many things change."

"It's certainly going to put a premium on the guys in the pits. Unfortunately, it's going to put a little more pressure on them as well. I like that we're trying to find a way to make things better by breaking things up a little bit. Like I said, pit stops are going to be important this weekend."

"1992 was a whole different era. Several of us were in the hunt, but we were leading late in the year and gave it away at the end. We almost came back and won it. We went to Charlotte and broke a track bar. That never ever happens. It was just a flat bad day. We went to Martinsville and Phoenix and had motor trouble. We came back at Atlanta. We didn't have anything to lose. Davey had more to lose. Davey had problems and then it was between Alan and myself. At that point in time, we did what we could do."


* Bill Elliott will be driving the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he last raced to a 17th place finish in the Pepsi 400 in July.

* The Dodge squad will be testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Oct. 1st and 2nd.


* This will be Elliott's 52nd start at Talladega Superspeedway, marking the most times Elliott has ever started in a" points-race" at any track on the NASCAR circuit. In his 51 starts at Talladega, Elliott has two wins, 10 top fives and 22 top-10 finishes. Elliott holds the track records for fastest qualifying time (212.809 mph, 44.998 seconds, April 30, 1987) and most poles by any driver (eight) at Talladega. He earned six straight pole positions at the track from 1985 to 1987, and went on to win the first and last of those six races - his only wins at the track. Elliott's most recent Talladega pole was earned in the fall race of 1993.

* In this April's Talladega 500, Bill Elliott rolled off in the 38th position and laid back in the pack for much of the race. It was a strategy that paid off as he was able to avoid major trouble when an accident on lap 165 claimed half of the field. The No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T did sustain minor body damage, but the Dodge Squad was able to repair the car in the pits and returned Elliott to the track to finish on the lead lap in the 19th spot.

* In the 2001 fall race at Talladega, Elliott was looking for his third victory at the 2.66-mile tri-oval after he rolled off the grid in fifth place. It was his 18th top five start at the superspeedway. The Georgia native kept his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T out of trouble and avoided major on-track incidents until a last lap melee put him in 20th place. In the spring race of 2001, Elliott started third and led the race before running out of gas with 89 laps to go - he finished 32nd on the day.

* In last week's race at Kansas Elliott started the day in the fifth spot and moved up immediately to third place by lap three. Three cautions within the first 30 laps didn't slow Elliott's momentum in the No.9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He passed the No. 8 car for second-place on lap 26. Elliott reported few problems with his No. 9 Dodge Intrepid R/T and on lap 142 he won the race off pit road to take the lead. The move earned him five valuable bonus points in the Winston Cup points race. Elliott has gained 65 bonus points so far this season. On lap 152, Elliott was forced to bring his Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge in for minor repairs to his front fender to prevent it from rubbing the tire. The move sent him to the 22nd spot. Elliott wasted no time moving through the field and on lap 233 he had returned to the fifth position. Despite a red flag with less than 10 laps to go, Elliott held onto the fifth spot. It was Elliott's sixth top-five finish this season and his 12th top-10.

* Elliott has excelled on NASCAR's speedways this year. Each of his 12 top-10 finishes in 2002 have 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's No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has led laps in six of the last 10 races (35 at Pocono, 93 at Indianapolis, six at Michigan, 43 at Darlington, one at New Hampshire and three at Kansas). He has led in 12 races this year for a total of 275 laps. Elliott led nine races in 2001 for a total of 171 laps.

* Elliott looks even better in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T than he did at this point last year. Elliott ranks five spots higher, is finishing nearly five spots better in each race, and has two more wins, three more poles, two more top-fives and four more top-10s than he did after 29 races in 2001. Currently, Elliott sits in ninth place in the Winston Cup points race, eight points out of eighth and 201 points out of first.

* 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 has won from the pole.

* Elliott has 12 top-10s through 29 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 , David Pearson