Casey Atwood Looks To Blow Out Candles And Competition This Saturday At Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn., (August 21, 2001)-When Casey Atwood returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, the lights will be bright for the young driver...
Casey Atwood Looks To Blow Out Candles And Competition This Saturday At Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn., (August 21, 2001)-When Casey Atwood returns to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500 on Saturday, the lights will be bright for the young driver - both on the track and on his birthday cake. Atwood will turn 21 years old on Saturday, and his crew and team owner Ray Evernham are hoping the young Nashville driver's birthday gifts include a trip to Bristol's winner's circle.
Atwood and his No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T ran well in the first Bristol first race this year, finishing 20th and earning top rookie honors. But lately Atwood, who admits that he favors short tracks, has had great runs on the longer tracks as well. He's coming off a season-high 10th place finish at Michigan and will be in top form as he makes it back to the familiar grounds of Bristol.
Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
What's racing at Bristol like? "I'm pretty exited about racing at Bristol. It's a track that if you can keep all of the fenders on you're car, you'll get a decent finish. I did okay when we raced here earlier this season. This time though, we'll go back with more experience and better stuff. The thing that's funny here is that you can be leading the race and be taken out by a lapped car. The main thing is track position. People have won starting from the back, but it's hard because it's so hard to pass here. That's why track position is so important."
Do you like racing at Bristol at night? "It's always a fun place to race. I live in Tennessee so I'm really looking forward to it. I've always liked coming here because it's exciting to race under the lights. Night racing is really fun and I think the fans really enjoy it more too. Bristol is different because it's a stadium-like atmosphere with the stands going all the way around like a football stadium. I think that really adds to all the excitement for this race."
Is there anything special going on for you this weekend? "It's my 21st birthday too so it'll be a special one. I'm sure the guys have something planned. I don't know. Everyone keeps talking about how Gordon won a few weeks ago on his 30th birthday so maybe we can win one on my 21st. That would be really special."
Casey Atwood By the Numbers:
*This will be Atwood's second Winston Cup Series visit to Bristol, and seventh visit overall. He started 16th and finished 20th at the track in March's Food City 500, and raced five times at Bristol throughout his three-year stint in the Busch Grand National Series.
*Atwood had his first top 10 of the season at Michigan's Pepsi 400 last week, matching his career best of 10th. Atwood finished 10th at Homestead last year in only his third Winston Cup Series start.
*In his last four races, Atwood has qualified in the top 10 starting positions three times (sixth at Michigan, fifth at Pocono, and a career-high third place starting spot at Indianapolis). All positions were earned on track lengths of two miles or greater.
*Atwood led 13 laps at New Hampshire - the first of his Winston Cup career. He ran second at Indianapolis behind teammate Bill Elliott, a feat he also accomplished earlier this year at Talladega.
*For the season, Atwood has been the top rookie qualifier seven times -- Texas, Martinsville, Pocono (twice), Daytona, Indianapolis and Michigan's second race. Atwood has been the top rookie finisher four times -- Bristol, Richmond, Pocono (second race) and Michigan (second race). He remains 32nd in the points race and third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 20th and his average finish is 26th.