KANSAS CITY, Kan., (September 26, 2001) - Though "Mighty Casey at Bat" brought no joy to Mudville that day, Casey Atwood is looking forward to an exciting weekend in Kansas City when he makes his first visit to Kansas Speedway and throws out the...
KANSAS CITY, Kan., (September 26, 2001) - Though "Mighty Casey at Bat" brought no joy to Mudville that day, Casey Atwood is looking forward to an exciting weekend in Kansas City when he makes his first visit to Kansas Speedway and throws out the honorary first pitch at the Royals vs. White Sox game at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, Sept. 28.
After coming off the mound Friday night, Atwood will step up to the plate for Sunday's inaugural Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Atwood will be looking to better the series high ninth-place finish that he earned last weekend at Dover. The No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrped R/T looked strong all day as it moved from an 18th place start into a top 10 finish at the 1-mile oval track.
Following his second top 10 finish in his last five races, the 21-year-old rookie moved up to 30th in the Winston Cup points standings. Atwood also gained valuable points on second place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.
Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
Have you had a chance to visit Kansas Speedway?
"I didn't test at Kansas but Bill (Elliott) did. I know he liked the track and I'm looking forward to getting out there. I feel really good about our big track cars. We're bringing the car that we raced at Indy and I really like that car. Hopefully, we can get a strong finish like at Dover.
Do you like going to new tracks like Kansas Speedway?
"It's always good to go to places that NASCAR has never been. We go to a lot tracks twice, and personally I'd like to see us add more new tracks. I really like when we go to the new ones because it's fun for fans and it's fun for us. There are a lot of fans out there who don't have Winston Cup racing, so it's good to get out and go to places like Kansas City. It should be a good weekend."
You set a career-high for your ninth place finish at Dover last weekend. How did that feel?
"It felt really good to finish like that at Dover. We've been good the second half of the season. We've had some solid qualifying attempts and had some strong runs. We're real happy with the way we ran at Dover. We had a great car. We just kept adjusting on it and it got good at the end. The first time we were there we didn't run too well. We've been doing that a lot the second part of the season. At the tracks that we are going back to, I'm doing better. I guess part of that is that I'm learning a lot."
Casey Atwood By the Numbers:
* This will be Atwood's first Winston Cup Series visit to Kansas Speedway. He will not have tested on the track prior to this weekend.
* Atwood started 18th and earned a Winston Cup Series career-high ninth place finish last weekend at Dover. He successfully battled for track position early in the caution filled race. The No. 19 car ran as high as sixth, and "The Dew Crew" made adjustments throughout the day to keep Atwood's Dodge Intrepid R/T running up front.
* Atwood 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, a feat he also accomplished 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.
* In his last eight races, Atwood has qualified in the top 10 starting positions four times (seventh at Richmond, sixth at Michigan, fifth at Pocono, and a career-high third place starting spot at Indianapolis).
* 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 career-high finish at Dover moved him to 30th in the points race and allowed him to continue to gain ground on second place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 20st and his average finish is 25th.