MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 1, 2000) -- After cutting the left rear tire and going three laps down early in the NAPA AutoCare 500, Casey Atwood and the No. 19 Motorola Evernham Motorsports team battled back to a 25th-place finish. Atwood was the...
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 1, 2000) -- After cutting the left rear tire and going three laps down early in the NAPA AutoCare 500, Casey Atwood and the No. 19 Motorola Evernham Motorsports team battled back to a 25th-place finish.
Atwood was the highest finishing rookie of the race, although he is not eligible until 2001 for official rookie status. Both Evernham and Atwood's fathers were present to watch their sons in their second race together. "We cut a tire early on, but there wasn't much we could do about that," Evernham said. "We came here, qualified and finished, which is what we needed to do in order to learn."
This was only Atwood's second NASCAR Winston Cup Series race, and his first race at Martinsville Speedway. He was the second-highest qualifying rookie driver, starting in 22nd position behind Dave Blaney who qualified 21st. Radio communication between Atwood and Evernham increased significantly from their first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
"I think he's getting more comfortable with us, just as we are with him," Evernham said. "He's going to be quite a little race car driver." During the last caution on lap 479, Evernham warned Atwood over his Motorola radio, "These guys are going to get wild out there, so be careful."
In a field of cars that would have looked more at home in a junkyard, the No. 19 Motorola Ford came out relatively unscathed and finished the 500-lap race without any mechanical problems.
What were Atwood's thoughts on his first race at Martinsville? After exiting the car he stepped back, gave the car a once-over and said, "Who did that to my car?"
The No. 19 Motorola Evernham Motorsports team's last of three races will be Nov. 12 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In their first race at Richmond International Raceway, the team started 35th and finished 19th.