Bill Elliott


Bill Elliott

Infobox NASCAR driver
Name = William Clyde Elliott


Birthdate = birth date and age|1955|10|8 | Birthplace = Dawsonville, Georgia
Cup_Car_Team = #21 - Wood Brothers Racing
Previous_Year = 2007
Prev_Cup_Pos = 42nd | Best_Cup_Pos = 1st - 1988
Cup_Wins = 44
Cup_Top_Tens = 320
Cup_Poles = 55
First_Cup_Race = 1976 Carolina 500 (Rockingham)
First_Cup_Win = 1983 Winston Western 500 (Riverside)
Last_Cup_Win = 2003 Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 (Rockingham)
First_Busch_Race = 1983 Mello Yello 300 (Charlotte)
First_Busch_Win = 1993 Fay's 150 (Watkins Glen)
Last_Busch_Win = 1993 Fay's 150 (Watkins Glen)
Last_Busch_Race = 2005 Sam's Town 250 (Memphis)
Busch_Wins = 1
Busch_Top_Tens = 16
Busch_Poles = 2
First_Truck_Race = 1996 Carquest 420K (Las Vegas)
Last_Truck_Race = 1997 Carquest 420K (Las Vegas)
Truck_Top_Tens = 1
Achievements = 1988 Winston Cup Championship
Awards = Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)

Most Popular Driver (1984-1988, 1991-2000, 2002)

Sprint All-Star Race II Winner

2007 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Inductee
Updated_On = October 8, 2007

William Clyde Elliott (born October 8, 1955 in Dawsonville, Georgia) is a part-time driver and former champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Elliott was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on August 15, 2007. [cite news
url=http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070220/SPORTS01/702200371/1052
title=Rathmann, Elliott lead way
publisher=The Indianapolis Star
date=February 20, 2007
] He won the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship and has garnered 44 wins in that series. He had two Daytona 500 victories, and a record four consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway during 1985-86. He holds the track record at both Talladega and Daytona International Speedway with speeds of more than 200 mph. Elliott won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award a record 16 times. He withdrew his name from the ballot for that award after winning it in 2002. The award will be renamed for Elliott when he officially retires from the sportFact|date=May 2007. In 2005, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue declared October 8 as Bill Elliott Day in the state of Georgia. Elliott as also been honored by the state legislature, having a stretch of road in his native Dawsonville renamed Elliott Family Parkway.

NASCAR career

Early career

Elliott made his first Winston Cup Series start at Rockingham in 1976, qualifying 34th in a field of 36 cars. Elliott only lasted 32 laps that day before the oil pump failed in his Ford Torino, earning him $640. Elliott toiled for five years in the Winston Cup Series without sponsorship, and along the way showed flashes that he could compete with the established veterans of the sport. In mid-1977, Elliott bought a Mercury Cougar from Bobby Allison after his split from Penske Racing to replace the inferior Torino, and the move paid off. He soon earned his first top-10 finish in the Southern 500 (10th), and his first top-5 finish 2 years later in the same race, finishing second to race winner and boyhood hero David Pearson.

With Melling Racing

In the fall of 1980, Elliott gained his first major sponsor in the form of $500 from Harry Melling of Melling Racing in the 1980 National 500 at Charlotte. Melling would extend his contract and gave the team enough sponsorship to run a 12 race schedule in 1981. After a 1981 season that consisted of one top-5 and seven top-10 finishes in 13 races, including the team's first pole in the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500, Melling bought the team from Elliott's father George on December 1, 1981. In 1983 Elliott earned his first Winston Cup win in the Winston Western 500 at Riverside in the final race of the 1983 season, his first race with Coors sponsorship. He gained full sponsorship from Coors the following year and won three races, four poles and finished third in the championship standings.

In 1985, Elliott earned 11 wins and 11 poles out of 28 races and also won the first Winston Million [cite web | url = http://www.carsandracingstuff.com/library/e/elliottbill.php | title = Bill Elliott | work = The Crittenden Automotive Library | accessdate = May 8 | accessyear = 2007] in the Southern 500 at Darlington. This earned him the nickname "Million Dollar Bill", and "Awesome Bill From Dawsonville." He won the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 at Talladega and the Southern 500 to earn the Winston Million. This led to him becoming the first NASCAR driver to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Elliott finished second in the championship standings by 101 points, losing the Winston Cup Championship to Darrell Waltrip after a string of poor finishes in the last quarter of the season.

In 1986, Elliott won two races and eight poles and finished fourth in the championship standings. He also won the The Winston II, held at Atlanta, the only year the race was run somewhere other than Charlotte. He won six races in 1987, including his second Daytona 500, seven poles, and finished second in the final point standings. In The Winston he tangled with Dale Earnhardt in what has become known as "the Pass In The Grass". However, Elliott's most lasting accomplishment that year was running the two fastest races in NASCAR history. At Daytona, he set the NASCAR speed record with an average speed of 210.364 mph. He broke his own record at Talladega with an average speed of 212.809 mph. In both races, he used a Ford Thunderbird which contained an engine built by his brother Ernie. However, at Talladega, Bobby Allison was spun and went airborne into the catch fence, tearing a large section away and injuring several fans. After this incident, NASCAR mandated the use of restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega. As a result, Elliott's speed records will likely never be broken. In 1988 Elliott won another six races, six poles, and his only Winston Cup Championship.

Following his championship season, Elliott broke his wrist in a crash during testing at Daytona and required relief by Jody Ridley during several races in the first part of the 1989 season. Elliott won two poles and three races and finished sixth in the championship standings. In 1990, Elliott won one race and two poles and finished fourth in the championship standings. In the 1990 race at Atlanta, Elliott's rear tire changer Mike Ritch was killed when Ricky Rudd lost control of his car, spun, and slammed the crew member between his car and Elliott's. This resulted in NASCAR restricting the speed of cars on pit road. The year 1991 saw Elliott's sponsorship change to Coors Light beer and the familiar red on the car was replaced with blue. Elliott won once in the Pepsi 400 and won two poles and finished eleventh in the championship standings during his last season with the Mellings.

With Junior Johnson

Elliott left Melling to join Junior Johnson and Associates in 1992. Elliott's sponsor during his time with Johnson was Budweiser; ironic because his sponsor at Melling Racing was from Bud's rival brewery Coors. In 1992, Elliott won five races (including four in a row) and three poles, but much like his 1985 season he finished a disappointing second in the championship standings after squandering a large lead in the standings with a late season string of poor finishes. He did win the season finale at his home track in Atlanta, but lost the championship by 10 points to Alan Kulwicki. The difference was that Kulwicki gained the 5 bonus points for leading the most laps in the race. Kulwicki led one more lap (103 vs 102) than Elliott. The 10 point difference was the closest point differential until NASCAR changed to the Chase for the Cup points format 12 years later. [cite web |url=http://www.nascar.com/2002/kyn/history/drivers/02/02/akulwicki/index.html |title=Alan Kulwicki |accessdate=2007-07-04 |date=April 4 2003 |publisher=NASCAR.com ]

Elliott went winless in 1993 and finished eighth in the standings. He scored just one win the following season in the 1994 Southern 500 while finishing 10th in the championship standings. After his Darlington victory, Elliott announced he would be starting his own team with sponsorship from McDonald's in 1995.

As an independent driver and at Evernham Motorsports

After leaving Johnson's team, Elliott fielded his own Winston Cup race team from 1995 to 2000. Elliott suffered a long winless streak during this time, though he did manage two top ten finishes in the championship standings, with eighth place finishes in both 1995 and 1997. In 1996, Elliott suffered a broken leg during an accident at Talladega and missed several races that season. Elliott sold his team to Ray Evernham in 2000 and began driving the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid the following year. The team found success in his first race in the #9 Dodge, as Elliott won the pole for the 2001 Daytona 500 and finished in the top 5, bringing home a 5th place finish. Though, the race will forever be remembered for the death of fan favorite Dale Earnhardt. Bill finished he first season with Ray Evernham Racing with two poles, five top 5 and nine top 10 finishes, and a win at the season ending Pennzoil Freedom 400 at Homestead from the pole (with then-teammate Casey Atwood starting second and finishing third). This was his first win in over seven years. He finished 15th in the final standings. In 2002 he won four poles and went to victory lane twice. His wins included the Pocono 500, and one week later an overwhelmingly dominant victory in that year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He finished 13th in the final standings. His last win, in what became his final full-time season, came in 2003 at Rockingham. And, he came within a lap of winning his final race as a full-time driver (he would have been the only retiring driver to do so) in the 2003 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Elliott led 189 of 267 laps and was on his way to victory, but a cut tire on the final lap gave the win to Bobby Labonte. He still finished the race and maintained his ninth-place position in the final points standings, his best finish since a eight-place finish in the 1997 standings. A few weeks later, Elliott announced that he was relinquishing the #9 car to Kasey Kahne and switching to a part-time schedule driving R&D cars for Evernham.

emi-retirement

In 2004, Elliott drove the #91 Dodge Intrepid for Evernham in three events (along with the Budweiser Shootout) and also drove the #98 Dodge Intrepid in one other event because of sponsorship issues between Coca-Cola (Elliott's sponsor) and Pepsi (Evernham's sponsor). Elliott was listed as the owner of the #98 car, but Evernham leased the car to him. Although he only made six starts during his first part-time season, he still managed to have some success which included a ninth-place finish at Indianapolis and second and third-place qualifying efforts at Texas and California respectively.

In 2005, Elliott continued his part-time driving duties which included driving the #39 Coors Dodge Charger for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Budweiser Shootout and the #91 Evernham Dodge in several events. Although he made three more starts than the previous season, he did not have the same amount of success. He managed to get an eleventh-place finish and a tenth-place qualifying effort at Michigan, along with a ninth-place qualifying effort at Texas. He also competed in select NASCAR Busch Series events for Rusty Wallace and also drove the #6 Unilever Dodge Charger in the Busch Series for Evernham at Memphis, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

For the 2006 season, the 2005 owners' points for the #91 team went to the new #10 Evernham team and driver Scott Riggs and the 91 team was discontinuted. On January 4, 2006, Elliott announced that he would pilot the #36 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS for MB2 Motorsports in the 2006 Daytona Speedweeks events. This included the Budweiser Shootout, the Gatorade Duel, and the Daytona 500, which Elliott had not competed in since 2003. On March 17, 2006, it was announced that Elliott would drive the #00 Burger King Chevrolet for Michael Waltrip Racing in five NEXTEL Cup events which included Chicagoland, New Hampshire, Indianapolis, California, and Homestead. On August 8, 2006, Evernham Motorsports announced that Elliott would return to the organization for the race at Watkins Glen driving the #19 Dodge previously driven by Jeremy Mayfield. The team fell out of the top-35 in owners' points after Indianapolis, leading to the firing of Mayfield, and Evernham assumed that Elliott would guarantee a starting spot in the field by being a past champion. However, since the driver switch was made past the entry deadline, NASCAR said that Elliott was not eligible for the past champions provisional. For the race at Kansas, Elliott teamed up with R&J Racing to drive the #37 Dodge. Elliott finished a season-high 16th at the Banquet 400 at Kansas, but did not qualify for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte two weeks later. Elliott was scheduled to be the Team Red Bull entry at Atlanta and Texas, but A. J. Allmendinger drove the car instead (though he did not qualify for either race). Elliott instead drove the #37 Dodge at Atlanta, marking the 30th Anniversary of Elliott driving at his hometown track.

Elliott attempted to qualify for the 2007 Daytona 500, but failed to make the race in the #37. Elliott signed to drive the #21 for Wood Brothers Racing for at least two events for 2007, in part due to his championship provisional, which guaranteed starting the race. Since fellow champion Dale Jarrett had used all of his guaranteed starts in his Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Elliott was the only champion eligible for the provisional not guaranteed a spot by being in the top 35 in owner's points. His first race for the team was the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, which he qualified without needing one of his six provisionals. He lead the race at one point until he was involved in a wreck around lap 200. At Michigan, Elliott gave the team a much needed 11th place finish, and was kept in the car until the fall Richmond race. The car then fell out of the top 35 again but at Bristol got back into top 35 in points. Ken Schrader returned to the #21 replacing Elliott at a testing session at Talladega Superspeedway due to the team being back in the top 35 in owners points. He returned for the final four races after the 21 fell out ofof the top-35 once again.

On September 23, 2007, in an interview with Charlotte Observer Len Wood the co- owner of the #21 said in 2008 Elliott would have his own sponsor and share ride with Jon Wood & Marcos Ambrose. [ [http://www.charlotte.com/sports_breaking/story/289517.html] ] [ [http://www.jayski.com/teams/21.htm Jayski #21 Team News] ] Bill Elliott returned to the #21 to try to get the car back into the Top 35 points at Lowes Motor Speedway. [http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/printedition/2008/02/15/elliott0215.html NASCAR: Elliott: I'm done with top series after 2008 | ajc.com ] Elliott has qualified for ten races this season, with a best finish of 20th in the Sunoco Presents: The American Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. At Daytona Bill announced that 2008 will be his final season as a Sprint Cup driver. But As Kansas in a interview on NASCAR Raceday, Bill was asked about him racing, Bill said "We will be at Lowes, and do a few more races. Then we will see how things go." Bill in 2008, best starts were 5th at Bristol & 7th at Kansas.

NASCAR Video Games

In 1990, Konami released the first officially-licensed NASCAR game, "Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge" for MS-DOS. The game was released for the NES and Amiga in 1991, and "Bill Elliott's NASCAR Fast Tracks" was released for the Game Boy at the same time.

Elliott continued to appear in most NASCAR games until the release of EA Sports' ' in 2004 when he began his semi-retirement. The following year, he was seen in several screenshots and videos for EA Sports' ' driving the #91 Stanley Tools Dodge. However, he was removed from the game before its release and the #91 was removed from the Custom Car Garage feature for NEXTEL Cup. Ironically, Elliott's then-teammate Jeremy Mayfield was also absent from "NASCAR 2005" (though he reappeared in "NASCAR 06") and an official explanation was never given for Elliott's absence in 2006. Jeremy Mayfield was originally going to be the cover of Nascar 2005: Chase for the Cup, but when that was given to Kevin Harvick, he refused to be in the game. Unlike Elliott in "NASCAR 06", Mayfield had not been seen in any screenshots or videos for "NASCAR 2005". However, Kasey Kahne was featured in the #9 Evernham Dodge, and Mayfield and the #19 Evernham Dodge had been featured in previous NASCAR games. In addition, Bill isn't one of the drivers of the #21 in the Sprint Cup Series in NASCAR 09; Marcos Ambrose is the driver.

External links

* [http://www.billelliott.com Official site]
* [http://www.racing-reference.info/driver?id=elliobi01 Drivers statistics at racing-reference.info]

Notes

Persondata
NAME = Elliot, Bill
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Elliot, William Clyde
SHORT DESCRIPTION = American race car driver
DATE OF BIRTH = October 10, 1955
PLACE OF BIRTH = Dawsonville, Georgia, United States
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =


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