Born in 1955 in Dawsonville, Georgia, William Clyde ‘Bill’ Elliott is one of the most distinguished drivers in Winston Cup history. In his early days he started by helping out at his father’s shop which sold parts for racecars. His father, George Elliott, was an avid racing fan and he often took his sons along to work where they would help fix up different cars. Bill’s two brothers, Ernie and Dan, also did some racing in their youths, but it was young Bill who had the biggest passion for the sport – a passion which his father encouraged after Bill started converting a road car into a race car. According to George, it was his way of keeping Bill off the back roads of racing. He bought his son a 1963 Ford Fairlane and before long, Bill was whizzing around the racetrack.
Bill Elliott started racing regularly in 1974 when he took to the Dixie Speedway in Georgia. When he started winning, with his father’s support, Bill’s career reached new heights and just two years later, Elliott made his first Winston Cup start at Rockingham. His first Winston Cup win came in November 1983 at Riverside and in 1985, he clocked up eleven wins and 11 poles. He took the chequered flag at the Winston Million and his success led to him being garnered with several nicknames such as ‘Million Dollar Bill’ and ‘Wild Bill’. He also became the first NASCAR driver to be featured on the cover of Sport Illustrated – an accomplishment which boosted his career even further. Amazingly enough, even though Elliott had enjoyed numerous successes by this stage in his career, he had not won the Winston Cup Championship. He eventually accomplished this feat in 1988.
With a career going back to 1975, by March 2010, Elliott had clocked up 810 NASCAR starts and 44 wins. He had won the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Series, placed in the Top Five 175 times, and 320 times in the Top Ten with a total recorded winnings exceeding US$37million. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on 15 August 2007. On Memorial Day in 2009, Bill Elliott became the 7th member of the so-called “800 Club” by taking his 800th career Sprint Cup start at the Lowes Motor Speedway. He was also the first NASCAR Driver to be featured in a video game. No doubt his reputation as a unpretentious and friendly person had endeared him to thousands of fans and, when combined with his brilliant racing ability, will continue to hold him in good stead as he continues onward with his racing career.
An elated Justin Schroeder took the first win of his career at the biggest race of the year – the Stan Yee Memorial 150. The twenty-one year old managed to find himself in the lead on the eightieth lap and never looked back. By the time he was done, he had lapped almost the entire field.
The day dawned with a bit of rain, which seems to be the norm at the Flack Rock Speedway, but the JMS Racing team didn’t seem to bat an eyelid. They managed to post the second fastest qualifying lap, just missing the fast qualifier award by split seconds. When the race finally started, Justin Schroeder found himself in ninth position on the grid. But it certainly wasn’t smooth sailing from that point. The 150-lap event had three starting attempts before the race finally got underway and Schroeder could start to eat his way up to the top of the pack. By lap seventy-one, a caution helped the young driver to whiz past Eric Lee, putting him in the lead and ultimately helping him to take the Stan Yee Memorial 150 winner’s trophy. Justin Schroeder has been racing for just two years and, judging by the way he drove during this race, this may be his first ever Outlaw Late Model win, but it won’t be his last.
After the race Schroeder noted that he’d really wanted the win and that both he and his team had come a long way since starting to race their cars. He said winning the biggest race of the year and the fact that this was his first ever win was “really pretty cool.” He also thanked his sponsors and his mother and father for their support. Schroeder will now be heading to the Dixie Motor Speedway where he will be taking part in the Port City Racecars Dixie Cup 100 next weekend. After that it’s off to Toledo Speedway where he will be battling it out for the Gold Cup championship. The youngster is already sitting in third place in the standings and will be looking to gain some ground on point’s leader Harold Fair Jr. when he takes to the track on August 8th. Justin Schroeder is no doubt a force to be reckoned with and fans should keep an eye out for this up-and-coming driver in the months ahead.