Casey Atwood Phoenix preview

Casey Atwood Gets Feuled Up For First Cup Run At Phoenix PHOENIX (October 22, 2001) - Rookie driver Casey Atwood will make his first Winston Cup Series start at Phoenix this Sunday, but he knows that his experiences at the track in the Busch...

Casey Atwood Gets Feuled Up For First Cup Run At Phoenix

PHOENIX (October 22, 2001) - Rookie driver Casey Atwood will make his first Winston Cup Series start at Phoenix this Sunday, but he knows that his experiences at the track in the Busch Grand National Series will take him a long way.

Four of Casey Atwood's best finishes this year have come on tracks where he raced at least once in the Busch Series (12th at Richmond and New Hampshire, 10th at Michigan and a career high 9th at Dover). When returning to a track where he has raced prior to this year, his finishes are an average of eight positions better than on tracks he had never raced.

In his last run at Phoenix, Atwood settled for a 14th place finish after running out of gas in the Outback Steakhouse 200. With five more races left in the season, Atwood is looking for another solid finish to add to his rookie stats. He thinks that his previous runs at the one-mile oval will help him pilot the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T from Evernham Motorsports to a solid finish this weekend.

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

Are you looking forward to Phoenix?
"That's another one of my favorite tracks. I ran real well there in a Busch car last year but ran out of gas, otherwise we would have had a really good finish there. I'm looking forward to it."

You've never been to Phoenix in a Winston Cup car. Will that be a disadvantage?
"I've been to a lot of places that I haven't been in a Winston Cup car before. I think it will help me, my past experience on that track (in the Busch Series). I don't have a lot, but at least I've been there. Some tracks we've been to this year, I haven't been to at all. At least I know that track. We're taking a brand new car out there to Phoenix so hopefully it'll unload and be pretty quick."

What's the track like to drive?
"Turns three and four are like Milwaukee, but the track is like St. Louis to me because St. Louis has one sharp corner and one long corner. The only difference is the back dogleg in the straightaway at Phoenix. If I had to compare it to anything, it'd be St. Louis."

Casey Atwood By the Numbers:

* This will be Atwood's first Winston Cup Series visit to Phoenix Superspeedway - third overall. Atwood has two starts at the track in his Busch Grand National Series career. He moved from a 26th place start to a 14th place finish in last year's Outback Steakhouse 200, and finished 26th in his first start at the track in 1999.

* Last week in Talladega, Atwood started the day in 26th place and fluctuated throughout the field until an on-track incident on lap 96 involving several cars sent the No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T into the garage for repairs. The Dew Crew would get the car back on the track but were forced to retire from the race after completing 107 of 188 laps. Atwood is currently 33rd in points.

* October's Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville was the second Winston Cup Series race that Atwood has led a lap in. He 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, and did so again earlier this year in Talladega's spring race.

* 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.

* For the season, Atwood has been the top rookie qualifier eight times -- Texas, Martinsville, Pocono (twice), Indianapolis, and the second races at Daytona, Michigan and Richmond. Atwood has been the top rookie finisher four times -- Bristol, Richmond, Pocono (second race) and Michigan (second race). His finish at Talladega moved him back to 33rd in the points race, but he remains third in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle. His average start is 21st and his average finish is 26th.

-EM-

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