Elliott Finished the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in 31st
Fort Worth, TX(November 2, 2008)-The Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway was a race that left several teams perplexed with the surface that changed throughout the day until night event. Bill Elliott in the Wood Brothers Racing no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion, ran a clean race under the green flag that waved for most of the evening and finished 31st.
Elliott took the green flag in the 39th spot of the 334 lap race. On lap 17, Elliott radioed to the crew, “this thing is all over the place; I’m holding on.” As the green flag laps continued the 21 team scheduled a pit stop on lap 52 which allowed the team to make a quick adjustment, put on four tires and fuel. He went back to the track in 35th.
The caution flew for the first time three laps later and Elliott reported that the car was better, but was still a handful. He commented on the cars condition, “it’s fine for one lap then pushes the nose on the next.” Crew chief David Hyder made the call to stay out on the track during this caution and wait to see how the changes that were made took hold since the track was rapidly changing with the sun setting. Elliott restarted in 31st on lap 64.
On lap 81, Elliott informed the crew that the adjustment helped and gave him more grip in the rear. Even though the car was ill handling, on lap 98, Hyder called out lap times to Bill and said, “You’re running good lap times, you’re as fast as the leaders.”
As the race went on caution free for several laps, the team made another green flag scheduled pit stop on lap 111 for four tires and fuel. As Elliott entered the pits there were cars in both pit stalls in front and in back of him. With the tight squeeze, he had to come in to the 21 pit stall crooked. The pit crew made the changes and pushed him back a few feet in order to get him out to the track. It took some extra time to get this done which put him in the 38th position. Yet, by lap 120, he rallied up five spots to 33rd.
Another caution occurred on lap 143, Hyder chose to bring the no. 21 down pit road for more adjustments to assist with the tight in the center of the corner and free off condition. The 21 pit crew also put on four tires and added fuel. Elliott returned to the track in 35th when the race restarted on lap 148.
Green flag laps continued and the team made yet another pit stop for tires and fuel on lap 203. The race went on under green until the next caution on lap 240. “During that run, you were the fastest car out there,” said Hyder, commenting on the lap times. He chose to pit for four tires, fuel. They made no adjustments as Elliott wanted to leave the car as it was since the sun had set and the track was shaded. “I got into a rhythm and I want to just ride it out,” said Elliott. He returned to the track in 33rd on lap 245.
At the end of that lap, the first multi-car incident occurred and caused another caution flag to wave. The 21 stayed out on the track, the race restarted on lap 256 in 33rd. As another long green flag run ensued. Teams started making green flag stops, for the last time, the no. 21 pit on lap 326 for four tires and fuel. He reentered the track in 32nd and finished the race 31st on lap 334.
Hyder radioed to Elliott, “Man, I’ll tell you what, you had some great lap times. I’m just sorry we couldn’t get this right for you.” Elliott responded,” that’s okay, you’ll have days like that. We’ll just go on to the next one.”
Wood Brothers Racing and driver Bill Elliott in the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion, will go to Phoenix for the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts “500″ presented by Pennzoil on Sunday, November 9th.
*Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography