CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Atwood finished third Sunday, his highest finish ever in a NASCAR Winston Cup race. It's the seventh time he's been the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year this season. "I...
CASEY ATWOOD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Atwood finished third Sunday, his highest finish ever in a NASCAR Winston Cup race. It's the seventh time he's been the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie of the Year this season.
"I thought we had it man. We took two tires on that last caution and it was a really good decision. We just didn't need that last caution. I think we had a four-second lead with 20 laps to go. I think we could have held them off from there. We just didn't need that caution. Our car got loose there because we took two tires. Our tires just wore out. I got loose and couldn't hold it. I knew I probably couldn't beat Bill after he got by me. I was just trying to get a 1-2 finish for Ray.
"We got too loose and I couldn't hold them off, but it was a good day for us. I don't know what's really going on. We had a shot to win at Phoenix. We had the best car there. At Rockingham, we qualified well and didn't really have a good race car. We had a good shot to win here. I'd just like to keep it going like that.
"It makes everybody real nervous (battling your teammate for the win). I know Ray was up there about to have a heart attack, having both cars up there. When you're racing that fast and the track is that slick, it doesn't take that much to get together and not mean to. Luckily, everything was fine. I think I got a little sideways right in front of him, but he was able to go on by me. I tried to hold him off. I wasn't going to do anything that would take us both out. I'd rather him win and me finish third than taking us both out.
"I don't know why I like it (Homestead). I like flat tracks. I like all flat tracks. The first time I came here, I'd never seen the place before and put the Busch car on the pole here in '98. It's just a track that I adapted to well right off the bat. Some of them you can do that and some tracks you can go to seven or eight times and still not know how to get around it. I have tracks out there like that. Homestead has always been good to me.
"There really isn't a whole lot to talk about right now. I think everybody has been doing a great job and Ray is just trying to make his team a better team. I'm going to be with Evernham Motorsports. I don't know in which way or which car I'll be driving right now. That will be discussed later, but I'll be driving for him, and I plan on being with him for a long time.
"This has not just happened in the last three weeks. I feel like we've been running well for a long time now, since Michigan or Indy. We had a car that could win Indy. We had a car that could win Michigan. We just couldn't capitalize on it. We're just not getting where we can capitalize on the car we have. We've had great cars for most of the second half of the season.
"We should have been up in the top five all day. We had a few problems on the track. I got ran into in the pits one time and that cost us some time in there. Something happened with some lapped cars another time and got us put back to about 10th. All day you had people taking two tires and some taking four. That put us back a little bit. It all comes back, it all cycles back at the end of the race like it should, and that's what happened."
"I pulled out in my pits and there was a lane on the outside of me and I couldn't go up any higher. When I shot by him, he pulled out of his pits and nobody did anything wrong. That's just the stuff that happens on pit road. It's tight on pit road. I hate it happened. Luckily it didn't tear my car up. I understand some people might have been hurt. That bothers me a little bit, but I don't think there's anything anybody could have done.
"I told Bill congratulations. I was really happy for him. It's been a long time for him. He deserves it. He's had a lot of good runs this year, and he had the best car today at the end of the race. I couldn't be more happy for him. He's been wanting this for a long time. I'm really happy for Ray. It's Ray's first year as a team owner and he's already got a win. I was trying to make it a 1-2 Evernham day, but I just couldn't hold them off. He (Evernham) told me 'great job.' I think it's been a pretty good week."