After spending much of Friday’s Sprint Cup practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway among the top 10 on the speed chart, Bill Elliott and the crew of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion opted for a more conservative chassis set-up for qualifying and wound up with the 25th starting position for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott’s lap at 184.344 miles per hour tied him with Dale Earnhardt Jr., but Earnhardt will start one position ahead, as he is higher in NASCAR car owner point standings.
Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he felt like the team’s No. 21 Ford potentially had more speed, but he agreed with crew chief David Hyder’s decision to tighten up the car for Elliott’s run against the clock. “We tightened it up with air pressure just before qualifying,” Wood said. “A lot of cars were getting loose, so that was the right thing to do. “At Charlotte, if you get loose, you can lose a lot of time.”
Since they raced the same chassis at Texas Motor Speedway last month and in the Sprint Showdown last weekend at Charlotte, Elliott and the Wood Brothers crew are upbeat about Saturday’s final practice sessions and NASCAR’s longest race on Sunday. “We’re getting ready for the Coca-Cola 600,” Wood said. TV coverage of the Coca-Cola 600 begins at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday on FOX, with the green flag set to fly just after 6 p.m.