Elliott's mascot

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (Aug. 9, 2000) - Thanks to a former silent partner, McDonald's driver Bill Elliott snapped a bad-luck string with a third-place finish in last Saturday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The silent partner and ...

Elliott's mascot

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. (Aug. 9, 2000) - Thanks to a former silent partner, McDonald's driver Bill Elliott snapped a bad-luck string with a third-place finish in last Saturday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The silent partner and co-pilot of the McDonald's Ford is a possum, whom Elliott refers to as the "Possum Trotter." Possums have been known to "play dead" when they're attacked, but this one was never technically alive to begin with. Elliott's mascot from the "old days" is a cuddly stuffed animal.

The "Possum Trotter" was sent to Elliott early in the 1992 season by a radio personality - Aunt Eloise -- at WTQR FM in Winston-Salem, N.C. The stuffed animal rode with Elliott when he won three consecutive races -- in Richmond, Atlanta and Darlington.

The gray possum was retired (in 1992) to the Bill Elliott Museum in Dawsonville, Ga. and remained there until last week when Elliott's wife, Cindy, felt it was time to summon the "lucky charm" out of retirement.

The idea had overwhelming support from Elliott's four-year old son, Chase, who carried the possum to pit road and watched while crew member -- Dan Fohr - secured the stuffed animal to the passenger floor of the McDonald's car. The possum's presence paid off again. The third-place finish by Elliott equaled his best finish of the season. The possum will again be in Elliott's car for this weekend's Global Crossing@ The Glen in Watkins Glen, N.Y. "That's the ugliest critter I've ever seen," said Elliott. "I'm not sure if it was his presence or it just scared me to do better. Whatever the case, we did well and that's what counts. We needed something to get rid of the bad luck. You can bet that it will be in the car in Watkins Glen."

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