Bill Elliott drove the #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion to a 19th place finish in the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. After starting in 16th position, Bill and the Motorcraft team fought hard all day to take the checkered flag in 19th place. The race was intense and exciting, as long green flag runs and double file restarts played a significant role in the final results.
Starting on the outside of row 8, Bill took the green flag and ran in the top 20, posting lap times comparable to the leaders. The first pit stop of the day occurred on lap 53 under green flag conditions. The Motorcraft pit crew delivered a 14 second pit stop making minor adjustments to the #21 Ford Fusion. Bill returned to the in track 21st place and maintained his position until the caution was thrown again on lap 68. Under caution, the team decided to make another pit stop adding four tires and fuel in 13.45 seconds.
As the green flag was thrown for the restart, the cars in front checked up and a chain reaction occurred, resulting in Bill bumping the car in front of him. This incident damaged the splitter and put a hole in the nose of the car. With a damaged racecar, Bill fought to stay on the lead lap and maintained a top 25 position. As Bill battled the leader to stay on the lead lap, the fourth caution fell. The Motorcraft team was able to make some repairs to the nose of the damaged race car while staying on the lead lap. The #21 Ford Fusion took the green flag and continued to run in the top 25 with slight damage remaining to the nose.
The final green flag pit stop came on lap 202 with the crew changing four tires, taking fuel and making a few adjustments. After going a lap down due to a long green flag run, the caution fell on lap 235. This caution left David Hyder and the Wood Brothers Motorcraft team with a race changing decision – stay out, get back on the led lap and hope for a caution, or pit. The team decided not to pit, received the wave around from NASCAR and was back on the led lap. This strategic move placed Bill in the top 20. With only 28 laps left, the team thought they would be 8 laps short on fuel. Hyder informed Bill of the situation and “Awesome Bill” was able to be competitive and conserve enough fuel to finish the race 19th.
Co-owner and engine specialist Len Wood stated, “There is no way we should have been able to run 60 laps on a tank of fuel but we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Bill did a great job saving fuel.”
Bill added, “Hyder and the guys gave me a good driving car all weekend and a great finish considering the amount of damage to the car. I really feel like we had a top 15 car and the team did a good job repairing the car.”
The Wood Brothers next race will be at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 17th.