It was an up and down day for Bill Elliott, the Wood Brothers and the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion at the Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Kobalt 500. The team was expecting the race to be one with long, green flag runs. Based on Saturday’s practice, they felt the car was setup for that type of a race, running top 20 times during longer practice runs.
The #21 car took the green flag in 35th position. There were two, single car incidents early in the race, but after that the race unfolded as the team anticipated – with a long, green flag run. Cars started making their first round of green flag pit stops on lap 66. The #21 car tried to stay out as long as it could. The effort paid off as a tire got away from another team during a pit stop that brought out the caution flag. The yellow flag caught a number of cars who had already made green flag pit stops one and two laps down. Fortunately, the 21 car was not negatively affected by the yellow – in fact it helped. While under caution, the 21 was able to make a pit stop, adding fuel, four tires and making a slight left rear adjustment without losing any positions. When the race restarted, only 8 cars were on the lead lap. Bill took the green flag restart in 16th place.
Bill then spent the next part of the race running in the 16th to 22nd position. The team was hoping to reap the benefits of their earlier decision when the #21 became the victim of an accident on lap 204. The #77 car hit the wall in turn one and left a trailing Bill Elliott no where to go. The damage to the cars was enough to send both of them to the garage for the remainder of the race.
Despite the accident, the team put forth a solid effort all weekend steadily improving the car’s performance each day – eventually putting Bill and the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in position to bring home a good result. The team finished the day in 36th position.
The Sprint Cup Series has next weekend off. The Wood Brothers will make their next appearance at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 7.