Winless Elliott takes pole at Dover

AUTO RACING Roundup

September 15, 1990

LEXINGTON, OHIO DOVER, DEL — DOVER, Del. -- Bill Elliott, who has yet to win a race this year took his second pole of the season yesterday in qualifying for tomorrow's NASCAR Peak 500.

Elliott's lap of 144.928 mph, just ahead of Geoff Bodine's 144.869 mph, gave the 1988 Winston Cup champion his first pole since May 6 in Talladega, Ala. Behind the two front-row Fords are Chevrolet drivers Dale Earnhardt and Ernie Irvan.

The high-banked, one-mile oval at Dover Downs International Speedway has been good to Elliott. He swept both races in 1988 and won another in 1985.

"Everybody's talking about the first win. It's like you've never won a race before in your life," he said.

"I feel like we're good enough a race team we're going to win

somewhere. And I don't know where, if it's going to be here this weekend or somewhere else down the road. You know, all we can do is try our best."

Despite his Dover success, history is against Elliott winning. Pole-winners have gone 26 races without a victory at Dover. The last to do it was Cale Yarborough in 1976.

The pole is the 39th of Elliott's career, giving him the 10th spot on the all-time list ahead of Herb Thomas.

"It seemed like Geoff was really the car to beat and several other guys went out and the times were a little bit everywhere," Elliott said. "That's the thing about this racetrack -- it's hard to get it down pat."

Bodine, who has an outside shot at the Winston Cup championship, ran a 24.85-second lap, just behind Elliott's 24.84.

"It was a good run, but it's no fun getting beat," said Bodine, who has two poles and two victories this year.

Earnhardt said his car picked up from practice.

"We're in good shape for the race," he said.

Earnhardt, who won both races at Dover last year, is bidding to overtake the Winston Cup points lead from Mark Martin.

Martin, who will start sixth, leads Earnhardt by 16 points through 22 of 29 races. Bodine is third, 224 points back. One race can earn a driver 185 points.

Elliott said the pressure to get a victory is self-applied.

"You're going to have good years and you're going to have bad years and you've got to take them as they come along," he said.

"But you just can't let it tear your team apart from the standpoint that you're going to get there; you've just got to keep your cool and keep everybody going in the same direction, and that's the part that's so hard."

Red Roofs Inn 200

Michael Andretti, qualifying his Lola-Chevrolet at 110.521 mph, won the pole for tomorrow's Indy-car race. Emerson Fittipaldi finished second in his Penske-Chevrolet at 108.282.

Darin Brassfield won the pole for today's SCCA Trans-Am championship race by covering the 2.4-mile road course in 1:27.090, breaking a 3-year-old record set by former Trans-Am champion Scott Pruett. Brassfield averaged 99.204 mph in his Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.

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