Bill Elliott And Casey Atwood Finish Fifth And 25TH At The Mountain Dew Southern 500 DARLINGTON, S.C. (September 2, 2001)- The No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T and the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T from Evernham Motorsports earned their ...
Bill Elliott And Casey Atwood Finish Fifth And 25TH At The Mountain Dew Southern 500
DARLINGTON, S.C. (September 2, 2001)- The No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T and the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T from Evernham Motorsports earned their stripes during the 367-lap Mountain Dew Southern 500. Bill Elliott drove his Dodge Intrepid R/T to a fifth place finish and Casey Atwood piloted his Dodge Intrepid R/T to a 25th place finishing spot. Elliott, whose success at Darlington is legendary, winning the inaugural Winston Million bonus at the 1985 Southern 500, started in the ninth spot. Battling a tight handling car that nearly put him a lap down, Elliott fought back thanks in part to excellent pit stops by the No. 9 crew and a solid pit strategy from crew chief Mike Ford.
"It's like any other race," said Ford. "We had a little luck going our way and not losing a lap there early in the race was big. We kept adjusting on it all day long and we got better and better. Bill got more comfortable driving it. The pit stops got better there at the end of the day. That last caution I think there were 17 or 18 laps to go and the first few guys didn't pit. It was on from there. We had a good car. We had a shot at better than a top five I thought but the cautions didn't go our way there at the end."
Elliott's finish moves him to 14th in the points race. He has four top five finishes this season. He has finished in the top 10 in four of the last six races and has run every race this season without a DNF. Emblazoned with a special Mountain Dew paint scheme, Casey Atwood started the No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T in the thirtieth spot. He and the Dew Crew made adjustments on the No. 19 Dodge Intrepid R/T, battling for track position during the four-hour race. In only his second start in a Winston Cup car at Darlington, Atwood finished the day in 25th place. He remains 31st in points and third in the Raybestos Rookie race, 24 points out of second.
"Both teams worked hard today," said car owner Ray Evernham. "It was really a tribute to the No. 9 team. Mike Ford and those guys didn't quit. They keep digging and digging. They got us another top five finish. Bill Elliott gave 100 percent today. We've just got to keep getting him better and better cars and maybe we can get him back to victory lane. I'm really proud of this team."
EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS IN THE NEWS: Evernham Motorsports spent a busy weekend at the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Ray Evernham, Casey Atwood and members of the Dew Crew participated in the Dew Crew Call Saturday morning including a question and answer session with fans. On Sunday morning, a ceremony was held in the No. 19 pits with the former team owner for the Dew Crew Junior Johnson and the current owner for the Dew Crew Ray Evernham. Members of the media were in attendance including TNT, Fox Sports and Winston Cup Scene. During the ceremony, Junior Johnson presented a plaque to Ray Evernham symbolizing the "passing of the wrench." Evernham also presented Johnson a special gift on behalf of the Dew Crew. In addition to the media coverage from these events, Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood were also featured in the Florence Morning News prior to the race weekend. Bill Elliott is also featured in the current issue of Racing Milestones magazine. Evernham also conducted a variety of interviews throughout the weekend including PRN and CNNSI.
SPONSOR NEWS: Representatives from Pepsi-Cola Company were on hand throughout the weekend for the numerous activities held in support of the Mountain Dew Southern 500. Members of the Dew Crew including Ray Evernham and Casey Atwood greeted the visiting VIPs and participated in various events. Mountain Dew also held a photo shoot at the track with Casey in anticipation of promotions and packaging for the 2002 season. Dodge City proved a popular destination for Darlington race fans. In its second appearance at the track, the interactive mobile attraction drew thousands of interested visitors. Members of the Dew Crew also made an appearance at the event and even signed autographs for the many fans in attendance.