So there’s a bunch of people sitting in the media center after a long day at the track, waiting on Cup qualifying to start, and I hear other media members start talking about Bill Elliott.
I’m barely listening. It’s background noise, but they’re sort of laughing incredulously and joking about something related to Bill Elliott. He’s coming back to drive again, they’re saying.
Yeah, OK, right. Not sure why this is the topic of humor, but like I said — it’s been a long day.
But then I scroll back through Twitter and it hits me: Wait…they’re saying Elliott is going to drive an Xfinity race…..and he really is?
This has to be a joke. April Fools? No, it’s August. Fake news? I open my email. And there’s the press release from GMS Racing.
It’s real. Bill Elliott — BILL — will race the No. 23 car at Road America on Aug. 25.
WHAT!? Bill Elliott is 62 years old! He’s in the Hall of Fame already. And…he’s going to drive another NASCAR race.
That is a shocker right there, my friends. Who could have seen that one coming?
Upon further review, it’s not a complete surprise. (Actually, what am I talking about? It’s totally a complete surprise.)
But what I was going to say is when I heard Nate Ryan’s podcast with Ray Evernham in May, Evernham was talking about how he and Elliott ran the Indy Legends Charity Pro-Am event together — which is held on the road course inside Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
So although Elliott hasn’t run a NASCAR road race since 2007, he was just road racing two months ago en route to a third-place finish (combined with Evernham).
Elliott hasn’t really stopped racing. In NASCAR, yeah. But it’s not like he’s been sitting on the couch. So this should be interesting.
Can he beat the Xfinity regulars? Can he beat open-wheel guest stars like Katherine Legge and Conor Daly?
I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. But I know this: I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching now.