“Still Awesome” Bill Elliott
2006 Rides: No. 36 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevrolet/No. 00 Burger King Chevrolet/No. 19 Dodge Dealers-UAW SRT Dodge/No. 83 Red Bull Dodge/No. 37 Melling Auto Parts Dodge
2006 Owners: Nelson Bowers (No. 36)/Michael Waltrip (No. 00)/Ray Evernham (No. 19)/Red Bull Racing (No. 83)/John Carter (No. 37)
2006 Crew Chiefs: Frank Stoddard (No. 36)/Larry Carter (No. 00)/Chris Andrews (No. 19)/Mark Tutor (No. 37)
Stats: 10 races, zero wins, zero top fives, zero top 10s, 44th in points.
Best Finish: 16th, Kansas.
High Point: 25 years ago, Elliott and the Melling family became one of the most dominating duos in NASCAR history. Reuniting this season at Kansas Speedway in a sponsorship deal with R&J Racing, Elliott had a great run in the retro-looking Melling Auto Parts Dodge, finishing 16th after starting 39th.
Low Point: Despite his eligibility for a past champion’s provisional, Elliott failed to qualify for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, ruining the debut what will become the new Red Bull Toyota team in 2007, as well as the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. In both events, the starting spot instead went to Terry Labonte due to his status as a more recent past champion not qualified on speed.
Summary: Driving for several teams this year, Elliott jumped around more than a toddler in an inflatable bounce house. Although he is still quite capable of winning, Elliott will unfortunately never make a return to Victory Lane driving a part-time schedule in short-term rides; instead, he’ll retrieve middling results at best, evidenced by his on-track performances this year in which he achieved just two top-20 finishes in 10 starts.
2007 Outlook: Elliott’s 2007 NASCAR plans are uncertain. It has been reported that he is weighing several offers, expecting to reach a decision in the near future.