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Elliott Spends His Free Time Testing at Daytona

Bill Elliott
Bill Elliott
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (May 26, 2004) -- Bill Elliott’s 2004 racing season is like no other he has had in his career.

For the first time since 1983, Elliott isn’t running a full NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule. Instead, the two-time Daytona 500 winner and 1988 NASCAR champion is competing in select races in the No. 91 Dodge for owner Ray Evernham.

Elliott is also helping Evernham with research and development such as participating in a test session along with Petty Enterprises’ Kyle Petty on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 46th annual Pepsi 400 on Saturday, July 3.

So with his life removed from the pressure of 38 weekends of racing, Elliott now has free time in his schedule that allows him to spend more time with his family and even race his dirt track car.

“I’ve enjoyed it up to this point,” Elliott said. “I enjoy where I’m at and what I’m doing. It’s fun to watch (son) Chase race his go-kart some and do different things and find out there is another life.”

One of the different things Elliott had the privilege to take part in occurred during Speedweeks 2004 when he introduced President George W. Bush during pre-race ceremonies for the Daytona 500.

“Coming here in February and introducing the President was a unique experience for me,” Elliott said. “It was a fantastic way for me not to run the Daytona 500 the way it ended up being.”

Elliott, who only competed in the Budweiser Shootout during Speedweeks 2004, says sponsorship will determine the rest of his driving schedule, and that includes whether or not he would race in the Pepsi 400.

“I want to run some more this year and maybe do some stuff next year,” Elliott said. “Sponsorships have been pretty tough to secure in this market. Like I said, I enjoy where I’m at. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t, that’s OK too.”

Elliott has left his mark at the “World Center of Racing.” Besides his 11 victories at DIS, he also owns the track qualifying record of 210.364 mph set during 1987 Daytona 500 qualifying – a feat that likely will never be broken.

“Of all the things that I’ve ever done in my life, when I ran 210 here, it impressed me more than anything else I’ve ever done,” Elliott said. “That was an impressive feat at that point in time with the cars we had and the technology we had to come down here and run 210.

“I’ll never forget when I drove Bill Champion’s car here in 1976 and qualifying 170 or 171 mph and started pretty close to the back. In 1987, I ran 210. I’ve been at both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. I’ve had some good races and it has been very good to me. Daytona has always been special.”

Elliott, who owns two Pepsi 400 victories, won his first mid-summer classic in 1988 when he nosed out Rick Wilson by 18 inches at the checkered flag.

“It’s a good race,” Elliott said of the Pepsi 400. “Since they’ve moved it from the daytime to the night, it’s made it a great fan race. I was here when we started at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. and it was always hot. When we ran the first night we ran, I said this was going to be a great event.

“I would like to try to come back here and run good again but whether that happens or not I don’t know.”

Tickets for the Pepsi 400 Weekend are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.


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