Ray Evernham, team owner of Evernham Motorsports and lead developer of the Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston Cup racecar: On the Three-Race Partnership with Motorola "This is like our pre-season. You don't want to play your very...
Ray Evernham, team owner of Evernham Motorsports and lead developer of the Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston Cup racecar:
On the Three-Race Partnership with Motorola
"This is like our pre-season. You don't want to play your very first football game in the Super Bowl, and we don't want our very first race to be the Daytona 500. It's our chance to learn how we work together and how we can work as a team in the future. We need to make sure we have the right tools, the right sheets and forms, the right training to support Casey Atwood.
"This partnership with Motorola allows us to shift from test mode to competition. It's a great opportunity for us all to get some experience running with the big guys. I think we'll have some good races at Richmond, Martinsville and Homestead - not just good experience for Casey but for all the guys on the team.
On Casey Atwood's Move Into Winston Cup
"Casey is going to learn a lot out there. The car has a lot more horsepower than the Busch car he's used to and he's going to have to learn the amount of effect he can have on the car. The driver input is even more critical now.
"We're working on a couple of things right now to get ready for the Richmond race. Casey is trying to eat right and he's working with a trainer to get in shape. In the car, we've got him sitting differently and we're helping him get used to the way the car handles. Our goal is to bring him along slowly so he is used to the car, the racing environment and the attention before we get to Daytona next year.
"For the three races, we're focused on learning a lot and earning respect on the track. I've talked with Casey about the importance of racing with the good guys and learning what they are doing. We've also talked about keeping a low profile on the track, not causing trouble or doing anything crazy. We certainly want to stay out of the way of anybody who's in contention for the race victory or the championship.
On the Development Program
"Dodge Motorsports has presented a car to NASCAR for approval and they are continuing to review the car. Meanwhile, we are focusing on the engine development. We are running engines on the dyno and trying different combinations. And, we are gearing up to build cars and get ready to go racing."