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.