CHARLOTTE, N.C., (October 3, 2001) - When Casey Atwood's No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T takes to the track at Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend he'll have a superhero riding around on his car. The legendary Marvel comic book character, ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (October 3, 2001) - When Casey Atwood's No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T takes to the track at Lowe's Motor Speedway this weekend he'll have a superhero riding around on his car. The legendary Marvel comic book character, Spider-Man, will be outfitted on the hood of Atwood's No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T. The special paint scheme will be present on both Evernham Motorsports cars for this weekend's UAW-GM Quality 500.
Atwood returns to Charlotte following his Winston Cup debut at the track in May. The rookie was involved in an accident that took him out of contention early and knows that extra seat time is always beneficial.
The Nashville native is coming off of a frustrating run at the inaugural Winston Cup race at Kansas Speedway. After securing his best finish of the season at Dover, Atwood was ready for another strong run. Bringing his "favorite" race car, Atwood piloted his No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T to a fifth-place starting spot but was involved in an incident on the first lap of the race that ended his day early.
Casey Atwood, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T
How do you feel about coming back to Charlotte? "It's always pretty exciting to come back to Charlotte. It's one of the big races of the year, everybody wants to do well, and everybody brings up their best car. So, we're pretty excited about it. We've got a new paint job for the Dodge Dealers Dodge this weekend with the Spiderman car, and we're looking forward to hopefully having a good run."
With this being Dodge's first year back, do you feel any pressure on you as a young driver to live up to some expectations? "There's been a little bit of pressure, but everybody is real understanding that it's Dodge's first year and I think they were expecting a little bit of a struggle at first. But it's been a great year for Dodge. They've already won two races in their first year back and I think that's a pretty good accomplishment. We're just plugging along, trying to do the best we can and trying to get our own win."
What's your key to getting around Charlotte? "Well, that's one track that I'm still learning a lot about. I never really had a whole lot of success there, so I'm hoping to turn things around this week. We've really stepped things up lately, and I think I've really learned a lot since we've been there last time. I don't know, that's just a track that a lot of the veterans have been around a lot, they know a lot of the ins and outs of it to make you go faster. Sometimes I just try to follow some of those guys around and figure out what they're doing because I really haven't run good there before.
Casey Atwood By the Numbers:
* This will be Atwood's second Winston Cup Series visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway. He finished 42nd there in May after being involved in an incident with the No. 01 Cingular Dodge Intrepid R/T that sent him into the wall on the front stretch on lap 50. He has made five starts at Charlotte during his stint with the Busch Grand National Series; his best finish of 14th came in the 2000 spring race.
* After running among the fastest practice times at Kansas, Atwood started fifth last Sunday in his No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T. But he experienced trouble in turn one on the first lap of the race. Atwood would be forced to leave the race, finishing the day at 43rd. He dropped a spot in the points, moving to 31st, 267 points out of 25th.
* 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 nine races, Atwood has qualified in the top 10 starting positions five times (seventh at Richmond, sixth at Michigan, fifth at Pocono and Kansas, 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 finish at Kansas dropped him to 31st in the points race, but he remains third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 20th and his average finish is 26th.