The Dodge Intrepid R/Ts Of Bill Elliott And Casey Atwood Make Some Noise In Thunder Valley BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 25, 2001)- It was a top 20 night for the Dodge Intrepid R/Ts of Evernham Motorsports. Bill Elliott finished 19th in the No. 9...
The Dodge Intrepid R/Ts Of Bill Elliott And Casey Atwood Make Some Noise In Thunder Valley
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 25, 2001)- It was a top 20 night for the Dodge Intrepid R/Ts of Evernham Motorsports. Bill Elliott finished 19th in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge, and Casey Atwood finished 17th in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Dodge. Both drivers were able to keep their cars running and out of major trouble in a race filled with 16 cautions. Starting from the 35th spot, Elliott battled his way around the half-mile track and had moved into the top 15 until an incident on lap 261 sent him in for repairs with damage to the left side of the car. Elliott was able to work his way back toward the front to finish 19th. The top 20 run allowed him to move up in driver points. He is currently 15th, 27 points out of 14th place.
"They never gave up," said Elliott. "We fought and fought and fought. The car wasn't that good, but we weren't that bad, either. I think we gained a couple of spots in points, and that's always good." Atwood had a good day on as well as off the track. The rookie turned 21 years old and enjoyed birthday cake and presents from his team and sponsors before the start of the 500-lap race. On the track, Atwood moved up quickly from his 34th starting position. He was able to keep the No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T out of trouble for the duration of the race, running as high as fourth. Atwood's 17th place finish also moved him up a spot in the points race to 31st. He remains third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race, just 25 points out of second.
"Everybody did a great job tonight," said Atwood. "We stayed out of trouble all night. That was the main thing, we had all four fenders on the car and we were able to stay on the lead lap most of the night. We just had a problem there at the end and it was missing up and down the straightaway. We should have had a top 15 out of it but it just wasn't meant to be." "It was a good run for us," said car owner Ray Evernham. "Our cars weren't that good yesterday. Bill probably had the better car tonight and ended up with some trouble but still got a 19th place finish. I think he picked up one or two spots in points and that moves him into the top 15. We're kind of happy about that. I would have been interested to see what would have happened if we would have gotten him some track position. At one point the No. 19 car was one of the fastest cars on the track. It seems like we had some kind of fuel problem at the end of the race. We don't know what happened but that cost us two or three spots."
EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS IN THE NEWS: Casey Atwood celebrated his 21st birthday on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Banners were hung from the No. 19 hauler and in the pits during Saturday night's race. A cake was delivered to Casey prior to the race. The team and select members of the media were on hand to wish Casey a happy birthday. Casey also conducted interviews with The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. Facilitated through the Make A Wish Foundation, Bill Elliott honored a young boy's wish to meet him prior to Saturday's race. Fox Sports filmed the meeting. They also interviewed Bill for a story on the history of racing at Darlington. Ray Evernham was the focus of a pre-race story, which aired on TNT. Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood were also a part of the story.
SPONSOR NEWS: With Bristol being one of the most popular races on the Winston Cup circuit, Evernham Motorsports welcomed a number of partners to the race including representatives from STIHL, UAW-NTC and Clausing. Jay Johnson Dodge provided the team vehicles for the weekend. Prior to Saturday's race, Ray Evernham and Casey Atwood visited with guests from Mountain Dew at the No. 19 hauler.