DOVER, Del., (September 19, 2001) - With heavy hearts for the many who have lost their lives in the horrific events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Casey Atwood and the entire No. 19 crew will return to racing in the MBNA.com 400 at Dover Downs International Speedway.
Atwood has fond memories at Dover, where he won his second career NASCAR race in the 1999 Busch Grand National Series MBNA Gold 200.
But his first Winston Cup start at Dover was spoiled last June when an early-race accident caused heavy damage to the No. 19 car. But, unlike many drivers that day, Atwood kept his No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T from going to the garage area as the "Dew Crew" made continual adjustments and repairs to the car throughout a number of pit stops. Despite being caught up in the wake of an accident, Atwood gained laps throughout the day moving from 36th to a 29th place finish.
Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
What were your thoughts when you heard about the tragedies on Tuesday? "Obviously, I really couldn't believe it. I've never witnessed anything like that before. I woke up on Tuesday and it was on the TV. It was unbelievable that someone could do anything like that. "
Were you happy with the decision not to race last weekend at New Hampshire? "I'm glad we didn't race and I'm glad we didn't travel. Everyone wanted to be home with their families."
Will it be difficult to concentrate this weekend? "It's going to be tough for everybody. It's going to be hard to talk about racing and what your car's doing when people have lost family members and mothers and things like that. It's going to be tough to go on when everything's still going on up in New York and Washington."
Casey Atwood By the Numbers: B* This will be Atwood's second Winston Cup Series visit to Dover Downs Int'l Speedway. Atwood has also made five Busch Grand National Series starts at Dover. His first appearance came in September of 1998 when Atwood moved from 32nd to 24th in Dover's second Busch race that year. His best performance at the track came in 1999 when he captured his second career win in the MBNA Gold 200, starting fifth.
* Atwood was the highest qualifying rookie in the last race at Richmond. He started in the seventh spot and ran in the top 10 for the first half of the race, but a mid-race problem with the clutch put him three laps down. Atwood would eventually work his way to a 27th place finishing spot.
* Atwood led 13 laps at New Hampshire in July - the first laps led in his Winston Cup career. He was one of eight leaders for the day. He ran second at Indianapolis behind teammate Bill Elliott, a feat he also accomplished earlier this year at Talladega.
* Atwood had his first top 10 of the season at Michigan's Pepsi 400, matching his career best. Atwood finished 10th at Homestead last year in only his third Winston Cup Series start.
* In his last seven races, Atwood has qualified in the top 10 starting positions four times (seventh at Richmond, sixth at Michigan, fifth at Pocono, and a career-high third place starting spot at Indianapolis).
* For the season, Atwood has been the top rookie qualifier eight times -- Texas, Martinsville, Pocono (twice), Daytona, Indianapolis, and the second races at Michigan and Richmond. Atwood has been the top rookie finisher four times -- Bristol, Richmond, Pocono (second race) and Michigan (second race). He remains 31st in the points race and continues to gain ground in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle where he ranks third. His average start is 21st and his average finish is 26th.