Casey Atwood looks to match promising Winston Cup run at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 17, 2001) - Based upon Casey Atwood's limited experience at Talladega Superspeedway, his outlook for this Sunday's EA Sports 500 looks bright. He...
Casey Atwood looks to match promising Winston Cup run at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala., (October 17, 2001) - Based upon Casey Atwood's limited experience at Talladega Superspeedway, his outlook for this Sunday's EA Sports 500 looks bright. He earned a top 10 finish in one of his two Busch Grand National Series starts at the track, and the only thing that could slow him down last April in his first Talladega 500 was an "extra pit stop" that he was forced to make mid-race.
In his first Winston Cup Series start at Talladega, the rookie driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T ran strong all day. Atwood ran second behind teammate Bill Elliott for several laps and ran in the top 15 for most of the first 100 laps. He ran into penalty trouble though, after he was forced below the yellow line by another car. Atwood was penalized 15 seconds by NASCAR for the infraction, causing him to lose a lap. He went on to finish the day in 30th.
This weekend Atwood will be looking to earn the top finish that eluded one of his most promising runs on the Winston Cup circuit.
Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
How are you approaching these last few races?
"We just want to stay with what we've been doing. We've had some problems the last couple of weeks. We were on a roll there for awhile with our top 15 finishes and qualifying up front. We don't have anything to gain points wise. We could gain a little bit more, but we just need to get some good solid runs in and get some confidence up for next season."
What do you have to do to get around Talladega?
"I think we should be good for Talladega. I'm not sure how the rule changes are going to affect us. I don't think we're using the extra two inches. It doesn't really matter here anyway. Hopefully, we can get a decent starting position and find someone we can draft with so we can get a decent finish."
Casey Atwood By the Numbers:
* This will be Atwood's second Winston Cup Series visit to Talladega Superspeedway - fourth overall. He started 21st and finished 30th at the track in April, but has a top 10 finish to his name from Talladega's 1999 Busch Grand National Series Touchstone Energy 300.
* In last April's Talladega 500, Atwood ran second behind Elliott for several laps and ran in the top 15 for most of the first 100 laps. He ran into penalty trouble, too. He was forced below the yellow line by another car and was penalized 15 seconds under another new NASCAR rule. He dropped back a lap and finished the day at 30th.
* Last week in Martinsville, Atwood started the day in the 41st spot. The Dew Crew worked on making his No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T more manageable throughout the race while the rookie spent his time on the track battling to stay on the lead lap. He finished the race in 25th place, two laps down but received five bonus points for leading a lap during the 263-mile race. It is the second time this season that the rookie has led a lap. Atwood falls a spot in the points to 31st place, 194 points out of 25th place.
* Last week's Old Dominion 500 was the second Winston Cup Series race that Atwood has led a lap in. He 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, and also did so earlier this year at Talladega.
* Atwood's ninth place finish at Dover is the highest of his career, and his second top 10 of the season. He had his first top 10 in Michigan's Pepsi 400, matching his previous career best 10th place finish. Atwood finished 10th at Homestead last year in only his third Winston Cup Series start.
* 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). His finish at Martinsville moved him back into 31st in the points race, but he remains third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 21st and his average finish is 26th.