Atwood chooses Martinsville for one race

Martinsville, VA (September 20, 2000) --- Of all the tracks in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, Casey Atwood wants to drive at Martinsville Speedway in the NAPA AutoCare 500. Atwood and car owner Ray Evernham picked three tracks to race...

Martinsville, VA (September 20, 2000) --- Of all the tracks in NASCAR Winston Cup racing, Casey Atwood wants to drive at Martinsville Speedway in the NAPA AutoCare 500. Atwood and car owner Ray Evernham picked three tracks to race in the 2000 Winston Cup season. Evernham chose Richmond and Homestead. Atwood chose Martinsville. "This was the race that I picked and wanted to come to," Atwood said. "Ray pretty much picked the other two. It just seems like my style of race track, and I think we can be good here." Atwood did well in the two-day test, which was his first time ever at Martinsville. "I've always liked this race track watching it on TV. It seems like my kind of race track with long straightaways and short flat corners. I am having a ball right now," said the driver of the Motorola Ford. "We really look forward to coming back here." Atwood was one of five drivers completing a two-day test session on Wednesday for the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday, October 1. Other drivers testing were Kyle Petty, Mike Skinner, Wally Dallenbach, Jr. and Jeff Burton. Atwood said Martinsville reminds him of his roots in racing. "I grew up racing at Nashville Speedway where Bobby Hamilton is from. Mine and Bobby's driving styles are pretty close alike. He ran good here and won a race here, so I feel like he can kind of help me out," he said. "I feel like my driving style is kind of like his, so I feel like we can run good here too." Atwood also has Ray Evernham. Working with Evernham has Atwood excited. "It's been great. He has been able to teach me a lot. The testing that I have been doing, and the racing I have done is helping me on my Busch car also," he said. Evernham was crew chief for two of Jeff Gordon's Martinsville Winston Cup wins, and he was a great Modified driver at the .526-mile track. "He's won 40 some races and three championships so he knows what he's doing. I listen to everything he tells me," Atwood said of Evernham. Burton is just as experienced at Martinsville, as Atwood is inexperienced. Burton started racing at Martinsville in the NASCAR Late Model Stock division, won a race in Busch Grand National in 1990 and was the winner of the 1997 NAPA AutoCare 500. "Martinsville Speedway's got a lot of history and a lot of heritage. I think it's neat that we can run here just like they did 50 years ago. It's a huge challenge. It's one of the hardest races we run all year. Everything about this place is hard," Burton said. Skinner is another past Martinsville winner, but his victories came in the Late Model Stock and Craftsman Truck Series. He won in a Late Model in 1993 and got a Truck win in 1996. The NAPA AutoCare 500 weekend gets underway with time trials, for the first 25 starting spots on Friday, September 29 at 3 p.m. Second round qualifying will be Saturday, September 30 at 11:15 a.m. followed by qualifying for the Goody's Body Pain 200 NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour at 11:30 a.m. The final Winston Cup practice will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. followed by the 3 p.m. start of the Goody's Body Pain 200. Tickets for the Goody's Body Pain 200 are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. The NAPA AutoCare 500 gets the green flag at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 1. Great seats are available for $40-$45 by calling the ticket office toll free at (877) 722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Mike Skinner , Kyle Petty , Casey Atwood , Ray Evernham