|Cindy, Bill and Chase Elliott at the NASCAR Hall of Fame|
following the 2015 HoF announcement
credit: Getty Images/Rainier Ehrhardt
2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott was the 1988 Cup Series champion, earning 44 wins and 55 poles during his career. Elliott and fellow 2015 inductees Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly, Rex White and Fred Lorenzen will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 30, 2015. Here are the updated Fast Facts on one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, originally published in Feb. 2011.
- William Clyde Elliott was born Oct. 8, 1955 in Dawsonville, Georgia. His brothers Ernie and Dan were active in his early career, as was his father George. Elliott made his Cup Series debut in 1976 in a family-owned car; he received his first major sponsor in 1980 from Harry Melling, who later bought the team from George Elliott.
- Elliott won his first race in 1983 at Riverside International Raceway. In 1985, he won 11 races and 11 poles, as well as the first Winston Million for winning the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 (Talladega), and the Southern 500 (Darlington). This is when he earned his nicknames “Million Dollar Bill” and “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville.” In 1986, Elliott set the all-time NASCAR qualifying speed record at Talladega, running a lap of 212.809 mph.
- After winning the Cup Series championship in 1988, Elliott was again a major player in the 1992 championship, finishing runner-up to the late Alan Kulwicki by 10 points; it was Elliott’s first year driving for Junior Johnson. In 1995, Elliott started his own team, sponsored by McDonald’s, which he owned until 2000.
- In 2000, he sold his team to Ray Evernham, who was working on a Dodge return to NASCAR. Elliott drove the #9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid until 2003. In 2004, he began his part-time driving career, driving for a number of teams including Evernham’s and the Wood Brothers. Most recently, Elliott raced in the July 2012 Cup Series race at Daytona for Turner Motorsports, and tested a Nationwide Series car at Daytona for JR Motorsports in Feb. 2014.
- Elliott was voted the Cup Series’ Most Popular Driver a record 16 times: 1984-1988, 1991-2000, and 2002. He took himself out of the running in 2001 and urged all fans to vote for the late Dale Earnhardt, who won the award posthumously.
- Elliott and his wife Cindy are the parents of 2014 Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott (born Nov. 28, 1995); the younger Elliott drives for JR Motorsports. Elliott also has two daughters, Starr and Brittany.
- Find out more about Elliott at his website, www.billelliott.com.