Texas: Bill Elliott preview

Bill Elliott No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid RACING AT TEXAS "I really like Texas. It's the kind of track that suits me. I tend to do better on the fast, flat tracks. Texas is a lot like Kansas, Charlotte, Michigan, but they're all a ...

Bill Elliott
No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid

RACING AT TEXAS

"I really like Texas. It's the kind of track that suits me. I tend to do better on the fast, flat tracks. Texas is a lot like Kansas, Charlotte, Michigan, but they're all a little different from each other. The fans might not notice the differences but as a driver you do. Each one of them drives a little different than the other. They're all mile-and-a-half tracks but they all have something unique about them that tells you as a driver where you are."

GETTING THE POLE LAST YEAR

"We had a good car here last year. We had a good qualifying spot, and we were able to capitalize on everything and it was a good day. You don't go out there thinking you're going to set a track record. Like I said, I tend to favor these kind of tracks, and I've had some good luck over the years on them. We got a top-10 finish here last year and we'll look to have another good run this time around.

RACE NOTES
Bill Elliott is scheduled to drive the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that sat on the outside pole at Atlanta this year, and qualified fourth and finished 11th in the 2002 spring race at Michigan.

CAREER AT TEXAS

* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's seventh career start at Texas Motor Speedway. He has one pole position and one top-10 at the track, both earned in last year's Samsung/RadioShack 500. Elliott started first, finished ninth and led 13 laps in last year's event - all career bests at Texas. He has placed in the top-15 in four of his six races at Texas.

FASTEST CAR THIS SIDE OF THE TEXAS PANHANDLE

* Elliott set a new track record with his pole-setting lap of 27.803-sec./194.224 mph in qualifying for last year's Winston Cup race at Texas. The lap was more than a full mile-per-hour over the second-place qualifying time that day, and wiped out the previous track record by more than two miles-per-hour (Terry Labonte, 192.137 mph, 28.105 sec., 3/31/00).

RECORD-SETTING PACE

* Elliott holds the fastest recorded qualifying times at three racetracks on today's Winston Cup Series circuit (Daytona 2/87, Talladega 4/87, Texas 4/02). Elliott's run at Texas is one of only three current track records held by a Dodge Intrepid (Richmond - W. Burton, Bristol - R. Newman).

MOST RECENT RUN AT TEXAS

* In last year's Samsung/RadioShack 500, Elliott held the front row spot for the first 13 laps. He remained in the top-five for the first half of the race despite a tight handling car. With Saturday's practice sessions cancelled because of rain, the Dodge Squad was forced to react to changing track conditions with few notes on the newly repaved track. Elliott managed to stay with the race leaders throughout the day to finish ninth. It was his best finish and qualifying effort in five attempts at the track.

LAST WEEKEND

* In last weekend's Food City 500, Elliott was able to use a top-five qualifying spot to his advantage. By staying up front for much of the race, Elliott was able to stay out of trouble that caused more than a dozen cautions throughout the day. The Dodge Squad worked fast and efficiently in the pits, making air pressure and wedge adjustments. Track position played a big role in the team's pit strategy, and Elliott stayed out several times in order to maintain his top-10 position. A miscue on a green flag stop on lap 362 caused Elliott to enter pit road incorrectly. He lost three laps and was caught with most of the field after a caution flag came for an on-track mishap, leaving only a handful of cars on the lead lap. Elliott was able to pick his way through lapped traffic to bring home his No. 9 Dodge in 18th position. He currently sits 28th in the Winston Cup points race. He is two points out of the next spot and just 75 points out of 20th position.

MILESTONE WATCH

* This weekend's race will mark Elliott's 702nd 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 (773), Terry Labonte (751), Bobby Allison (717) and Bill Elliott (701). Elliott is third in overall starts among active drivers.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Terry Labonte , Dave Marcis , Richard Petty , Bobby Allison