BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Pole winning interview. "Sometimes I don't agree with the format as far as qualifying goes, but it seems to play into my hands. I've always been sensitive to the issue on pit road because I...
BILL ELLIOTT (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid) - Pole winning interview.
"Sometimes I don't agree with the format as far as qualifying goes, but it seems to play into my hands. I've always been sensitive to the issue on pit road because I had my guys hurt several years ago in an incident on pit road. Pit road has always been a sensitive issue. The last couple of years, we did it from a stop on pit road and then we went to our pit stop and started out. Before that we came down pit road pretty much wide open. I didn't know if I really agreed with that, but I still won the pole for it several times. Tonight, when I came in, I asked Mike Ford what we were going to do tonight. He said we were going to have to pick up pit road speed at the end of pit road. I thought that would be interesting, but it worked out. I was pleasantly surprised at the end of qualifying. I felt like we had a pretty good race car. I felt like we ran a pretty good first lap, and then we tied it all together. I got down pit road, got in my stall good and the guys did an awesome job on the pit stop. They dropped the jack and I got out good and it all came together. Ray's done such a good job putting this Dodge/UAW race team together. It's just unreal.
"When I got my guys hurt and Mike Rich ended up getting killed in Atlanta, that's when we came down pit road wide open. Back several years ago, there were no guys on pit road when we ran down pit road. The last couple of years were pretty good where you just started from pit road and drove into your pit and left on pit road. Tonight it worked out pretty well. It's always been just a little bit of an issue because I've always had that in the back of my mind. The circumstances happened to be twice, at Riverside and Atlanta.
"The key word is if you make it to the last segment. That's what makes it interesting. I made a comment out there earlier, sometimes the guy coming out of the Winston Open has an advantage on the guys in The Winston. For me, looking at the guy who wins the Winston Open, he's probably going to have a better handle on how the race track is going to be than the rest of us. It'll give him an opportunity to run The Open, then run the segments to get to the end.
"I think the last several races we've been going in the right direction. California was definitely a step up. It was actually the first 500-mile race we finished. Daytona got rain shortened and the other two we fell out of. We've been on that roller-coaster ride, but I think now we're going in the right direction. I think Ray's got things turned around very well, and I feel like from this point on we're going to race tracks that fit my style very well. Hopefully we can put some good things together the next several weeks."