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Five Times Bill Elliott Earned the Title “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”

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NASCAR fans nowadays hear the name Elliott quite often, and their mind understandably turns to Chase Elliott, first. However, fans have not forgotten about Chase’s father, Bill Elliott, otherwise known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville”. These are the biggest and brightest moments of Bill Elliott’s career.

  • Bill Elliott raced in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1976 until 2012, including 21 full-time seasons between 1983 and 2003. He won 44 races and the 1988 NASCAR Cup Series Championship. He also holds the record for the fastest qualifying speed in NASCAR history.
  • Elliott’s nickname is derived from his hometown of Dawsonville, Georgia. He earned the nickname thanks to some of these incredible moments.
  • Fans still love Bill Elliott to this day. His humble persona and clean driving style endeared Elliott to many fans, as he won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award 16 times.

5. Elliott’s Return to Victory Lane (2001 Pennzoil Freedom 400)

Bill Elliott spent the latter half of the 1990s trying to make it as an owner-driver. He put up some respectable numbers, but he failed to win a race. In 2001, he joined the newly formed Dodge team, Evernham Motorsports.

The team took some time to get their legs underneath them, but, Elliott gave the team their finest moment of the season that fall. Elliott passed teammate Casey Atwood late for the lead, and Elliott claimed his first checkered flag since 1994.

4. Fastest Stock Car in History (1987 Winston 500 Qualifying)

Bill Elliott was the cream of the crop in NASCAR on superspeedways throughout the mid-1980s. He was just as incredible on qualifying day as he was on race day. His greatest qualifying performance came in 1987.

After setting the track record at Daytona with a speed of over 210 MPH, he turned around and turned a 212 MPH lap at Talladega. That turned out to be the peak of speed in the NASCAR Cup Series, as the 1987 Winston 500 was the race of Bobby Allison’s horrifying accident. NASCAR has restricted Cup Series engines ever since, and no one has gotten close to that speed.

3. Elliott’s NASCAR Championship (1988)

Throughout the 1980s, Elliott won a lot of races, but, he couldn’t take home the Championship at the season’s end. He turned his attention in 1988 towards being consistent alongside winning races. Inconsistency cost Elliott the 1985 Championship, and he learned that lesson in 1988.

Elliott never finished outside of the top 20, and he nabbed 16 consecutive top-10 finishes from the summer at Pocono until the penultimate race at Phoenix. Elliott stayed out of trouble in the season finale at Atlanta, finishing 11th, and taking home his only Cup Series Championship.

2. “Million Dollar Bill” (1985 Southern 500)

In 1985, NASCAR implemented the “Winston Million” promotion, awarding a $1 million bonus to any driver who won 3 of the 4 “Crown Jewel” races. Bill Elliott took home two of the first 3, and his last chance at the bonus came at Darlington in the Southern 500. It wasn’t a totally smooth race for Elliott.

After leading early, Elliott fell behind throughout the middle portion of the race. Elliott got back to the front, and he fought with Cale Yarborough for the win in the Southern 500. Elliott held off Yarborough, and was presented with a $1 million check in victory lane with the title “Million Dollar Bill”

1. Elliott Comes Back from 2 Laps Down (1985)

Elliott’s finest hour came in the 1985 Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. He started on the pole, but he had to pit early to fix a mechanical issue. He fell two laps down, but, Elliott’s car lost no speed.

The race ran caution-free for the first 159 laps, and Elliott ran the entire field down twice to get his laps back, then another time to take the lead. On lap 145, Elliott took the lead and led 35 of the final 44 laps to take home the win. It was part 2 of his Winston Million run.

Bill Elliott had some incredible moments in his Hall of Fame driving career. These ones defined just how great Elliott was.

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Joshua Lipowski

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