Not Just An Ordinary Race Day For Wood Brothers Racing in New Hampshire
Loudon, N.H. (September 14,2008)-Wood Brothers Racing had some distinguished guests visit the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion transporter in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s garage area on Sunday, September 14th. Senator John McCain and his wife Cindy made their way to the no. 21 hauler area from the driver’s meeting with Richard Petty to meet Bill Elliott and Eddie, Len and Leonard Wood. Maj. Gen Irving L. Halter Jr. from the U.S. Air Force was another special guest who also had an opportunity to meet the Senator and his wife.
As Senator McCain entered the hauler, most of the 21 team was there to greet him and shake his hand. Bill was very impressed with the presidential candidate, “That was a pretty neat deal,"Elliott said. "For what he stood up and did for our country, I don’t think they give the man enough credit. Regardless of some of the other issues, the way I see this whole deal is we’re either going to be fighting them over there or over here and I’d rather be fighting them over there than in our country. There are a lot of things, but he’s a neat guy and I wish him the best.”
As normal race activities took place after a short delay from a rainy morning in the Loudon, N.H., Bill Elliott started 37th driving the no. 21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion in the Sylvania 300. The 43 car field was eager to get started and the early laps of the 300 lap event showed it as beating and banging took place on the track. Bill was shuffled out and with almost getting involved in an incident, he managed to save it but, fell to 43rd. A mandatory competition caution was planned on lap 35 as Elliott tried to find a line to run on until that point. He was passed by the leader on lap 33, however, received his lap back with the lucky dog award being the first car one lap down. The mandatory caution went into effect and Bill entered pit road. The 21 crew planned to make major adjustments to the tight handling race truck. "It's better than practice yesterday but,still tight,” Elliott said. The 21 crew was able to get the adjustments done and put on two tires. He went back to the track and came back down for the other two. He restarted at the tail end of the line on lap 40 in 38th.
Caution occurred on lap 83 and Bill reported that the car was still tight but, now getting loose on entry and exit of the corners. The 21 crew changed four tires and fuel and sent Elliott back to the track in 38th on lap 88. On lap 110 Hyder radioed to Bill, "Keep doing what you're doing. On that last lap you were one of the fastest cars out there." One lap down from the leader, the team decided to make a scheduled pit stop under the green flag. As other race cars were beginning their stops, Bill moved up to the 32nd spot. He came down pit road and the team made an adjustment, put on four fresh tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 38th on lap 158. As long green flag laps continued, Hyder radioed to Bill on lap 176 with encouraging news, "You're running as quickly as the leaders every lap."
Caution on lap 213 allowed the team to pit for four tires and fuel. They also made an adjustment to help with the increasing loose condition. The race restarted on lap 220; Bill was scored in the 36th position. Another caution two laps later prompted the team to use it as an opportunity to top off on fuel. Bill returned to the track in 37th on lap 228.
A wreck involving five race cars occurred on lap 229. At the moment when all of the cars in front of the no.21 slowed; Bill hit the rear of the no.10. The incident brought out the red flag as track safety crews cleaned debris. The team was concerned for possible damage to the grill but, when Nascar lifted the red flag and Bill drove by, there was no apparent damage, therefore they chose not to make a pit stop. The race resumed on lap 234 and Bill was in 31st position. Caution flag flew on lap 266 and the 21 team chose to pit for two tires and fuel. They also made an adjustment then sent Bill back to the track where he restarted in the 29th position. Bill remained in the 29th spot for the rest of the race where he took the checkered flag.
Bill commented about his run in the Sylvania 300, “We struggled with track position all day. We were tight in the middle and loose off. I fought that all day. Then we got the middle better, but would be loose up off. I just couldn’t get going.”
Wood Brothers Racing will take the no. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion to Dover, Delaware with driver Marcos Ambrose back behind the wheel for the Camping World RV 400 on Sunday, September 21st.
View more race photos and Senator McCain's visit on the newly designed Official Wood Brothers Racing Web Site: www.woodbrothersracing.com
*Photo by Dorsey Patrick Photography