Bill Elliott’s storied NASCAR Hall of Fame racing career includes a 1988 NASCAR Cup Series championship, the Winston Million in 1985 and 44 Cup wins. But did you know he went seven years between wins?
Elliott entered the Pennzoil Freedom 400 on Nov. 11, 2011, with a 226-race winless streak, but that all changed on this day at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Driving for Ray Evernham in the No. 9 Dodge, Elliott scored the pole position for the 267-lap race and led 54 of the opening 59 laps before giving way to a slew of drivers in the lead: Casey Atwood, Sterling Marlin, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick.
Elliott would surge back to the lead with five laps to go, passing Atwood for the point position and the eventual win. That year’s Daytona 500 winner, Michael Waltrip, finished second. Atwood, Elliott’s teammate, would finish third.
The victory was Evernham’s first as a team owner after he left his position atop Jeff Gordon’s pit box in 1999 to start his own team. The win also sparked a career resurgence for Elliott, who would win three times over the following two seasons for Evernham.
And in a sign of things to come, who was there in Victory Lane with “Awesome Bill?” A young, future NASCAR Cup Series star in 5-year-old Chase Elliott.
Check out Bill Elliott’s drought-busting NASCAR Cup Series win in this Classic Race Replay of the 2001 Pennzoil Freedom 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.