The Frontstretch: Driver Review : Bill Elliott by Mike Neff -- Monday December 10, 2007

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Driver Review : Bill Elliott

Mike Neff · Monday December 10, 2007

 

Bill Elliott
2007 Ride - No. 21 Little Debbie/Air Force Ford
2007 Owner - Wood Brothers
2007 Crew Chief – Ernie Cope/Michael McSwain/Gene Nead

Stats: 20 Races, 0 Wins, 0 Top 5s, 0 Top 10s, 42nd in Points.

High Point: In a season where a team didn't score a single Top 10 finish, it is extremely difficult to find a high point. Elliott's best run of the year was an 11th place finish in the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan. Elliott didn’t lead any laps, and finished a full lap behind the leader, but this race was, by far, the brightest spot in a pretty dismal season.

Low Point: In a season filled with sub-par performances, Elliott's first race with the Wood Brothers kicked off his return to NASCAR in very poor fashion. Elliott was taken out in a crash after just 218 of 400 laps in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. Elliott did lead a lap, but finished 38th for his lowest finish of the season.

Summary: The Wood Brothers sought the services of Elliott after they fell out of the Top 35 in owner points. With Ken Schrader struggling to qualifying for races, the team was virtually ensured a starting position through Elliott’s past champion's provisional. Fortunately, Elliott is a very good qualifier and made most races on speed. Unfortunately, that qualifying success never transferred into the race. Wih just one finish higher than 18th and almost as many finishes lower than 30th than above, Elliott’s season could not be considered a success on any front. Elliott only led a total of five laps all season long, finishing on the lead lap in just four of twenty events.

2008 Outlook: The Wood Brothers are one of the oldest organizations competing in NASCAR, but they are still a small operation compared to the megateams that dominate the sport today. It is a continuous struggle for them to stay in the Top 35, and 2008 doesn't look like it will be any brighter. Longtime crew chief Michael McSwain is most likely not going to be with the organization next year, and the team still has the pressure of qualifying for at least the first five races of next season. Don't expect Elliott to be much more of a factor in races for 2008 – if he even stays with the Wood Brothers. Currently, only Marcos Ambrose has been announced as a driver of the No. 21 on a part-time basis next season.

2006 Frontstretch.com Grade: C-.
2007 Grade: C- (only because Elliott qualified on speed for so many races).

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Jay Brown
12/10/2007 11:13 AM
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Bill Elliott, What a class guy! I have always admired him for what he stood for and how he went about doing his job in racing. I never got the chance to thank him for donating to our memorial to the 18 Guardsman that lost their lives to an airplane accident in Unadilla, Ga. He was kind enough to donate to helping with the building of the memorial. I am now retired from the Air Guard but still enjoy following his career. Bill keep doing what you enjoy. Jay from Va Bch.

David L. Therou
12/10/2007 01:37 PM
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After King Richard left mopar Bill was the man to watch. Bill coming from two laps down with no cautions and winning. (That is really something)

Jerry F. Mallard
12/10/2007 02:45 PM
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Bill is one of the most underappreciated drivers of the past 20 years. He was awesome in the 80’s, while with his brothers, in the 90’s with Jr. J. until Jr. lost his focus, and with Ray E. in the red 9!!! He never chose to bully or intimidate to win! He was and is AWESOME to me! Go Bill!

Al Koohy
12/10/2007 03:50 PM
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When Awesome Bill fully retires from NASCAR, I will follow him and retire from watching. He is truly a great driver and a genuinely nice guy! I will always treasure the time I got to shake his hand and chat with him for a few moments in Monroe, WA

WILLARD DAVIS
12/10/2007 10:53 PM
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what i like most about bill any time he has a real good car U could count on seeing him up front and he dont mind mashing the gas when its time to gohe didnt need to spinum out to win he always used his talent and abilities to drive past his oponet with out taking them outhe is definitely the best driver there is this includes the 3 car and unheart thanks

Jeff Stile
12/16/2007 11:25 AM
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Pulled out of retirement to right the Wood Brothers ship, I’m not sure how Bill’s season could be considered anything other than a success. Bill drove the team into the top 35 at the midpoint of the season. Ken Schrader was put back into the car and the team fell out of the top 35, and Bill had to come back again to finish out the season. Neither Schrader or Elliott can be faulted however, as the Wood’s organization is on the lower rung of the NASCAR pecking order. Once in the races, the team was unable to improve the car and the 21 usually fell back in the field. Bill was able to get the 21 car into the races, which is about the only thing the Wood Brothers are capable of at this time.