Atwood Darlington II preveiw

Casey Atwood Ready For A Busy Weekend At The Mountain Dew Southern 500 DARLINGTON, S.C., (September 2, 2001) - Casey Atwood heads to Darlington Raceway with an action packed agenda that includes a new look for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid...

Casey Atwood Ready For A Busy Weekend At The Mountain Dew Southern 500

DARLINGTON, S.C., (September 2, 2001) - Casey Atwood heads to Darlington Raceway with an action packed agenda that includes a new look for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T. As title sponsor of the race, Mountain Dew has a number of activities planned for the No. 19 Dew Crew from Evernham Motorsports. Those activities include a new red and green Mountain Dew paint scheme for the No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T as well as a variety of pre-race events.

Atwood, who finished 26th in the March race, admits that Darlington favors drivers with seat time, but he is looking for a strong run after testing at the 1.366 mile oval last week. He heads into Darlington after an eventful night race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Atwood, who turned 21 last Saturday, managed to keep his car intact, battling his way from a 34th starting spot to finish 17th for the evening. His run at Bristol was preceded by a sixth place qualifying run and a season high 10th place finish at Michigan.

Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T

You tested at Darlington last week. How did it go?
"It was pretty good. We concentrated on making some qualifying runs. We also made some longer runs to see how things were. I don't have a lot of seat time at Darlington and that's really important at this track. We worked on a bunch of different set ups to see what we liked. We're really hoping that gives us a little bit of an advantage over some of the other teams. Ray likes this track and Bill has won here so we're hoping for a really good finish."

What's the key to running well at Darlington?
"It's a fun track. I don't know if it's too tough to tame, but it's a tough track to figure out because it's a different kind of track. The tires run out fast and there's a lot that can happen. That's why veterans have an advantage at a track like Darlington. Seat time is important to figuring things out, but we'll do okay. That's why we wanted to come test. I'm not worried about qualifying. The race can be different though. It's long and it's going to be hot. We made some 50 lap runs so we should be good to go."

You've got a lot going on this weekend for the Mountain Dew Southern 500?
"Yeah, it's a big weekend for us. Mountain Dew has a relationship with Evernham Motorsports and the Dew Crew and they've been a sponsor of this race for 10 years so it is a big deal for everyone. The No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T has a special Mountain Dew paint scheme that's pretty cool. Ray and I and some of the guys from the Dew Crew will be making an appearance out at the Dew Crew Call so we'll be all over the place this weekend."

Casey Atwood By the Numbers:

* This will be Atwood's second Winston Cup Series visit to Darlington, and sixth visit overall. He started 32nd and finished 26th at the track in March's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, and raced four times at Darlington throughout his three-year stint in the Busch Grand National Series.

* 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 five races, Atwood has qualified in the top 10 starting positions three times (sixth at Michigan, fifth at Pocono, and a career-high third place starting spot at Indianapolis). All positions were earned on track lengths of two miles or greater.

* Atwood led 13 laps at New Hampshire - the first of his Winston Cup career. He ran second at Indianapolis behind teammate Bill Elliott, a feat he also accomplished earlier this year at Talladega.

* For the season, Atwood has been the top rookie qualifier seven times -- Texas, Martinsville, Pocono (twice), Daytona, Indianapolis and Michigan's second race. Atwood has been the top rookie finisher four times -- Bristol, Richmond, Pocono (second race) and Michigan (second race). He moved to 31st in the points race and remains third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 21st and his average finish is 26th.

-Dodge Motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Casey Atwood