Evernham Motorsports prepares for Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala., (April 17, 2001) - When Evernham Motorsports unloads its Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/Ts at Talladega Superspeedway this week, it hopes the lessons learned at Daytona translate to success at this famous racetrack. At its first ...

TALLADEGA, Ala., (April 17, 2001) - When Evernham Motorsports unloads its Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/Ts at Talladega Superspeedway this week, it hopes the lessons learned at Daytona translate to success at this famous racetrack. At its first superspeedway race this season, the Daytona 500, Evernham Motorsports showed it came prepared to race. Veteran Bill Elliott, no stranger to success on the superspeedways, took the pole position for the race and finished fifth. Rookie Casey Atwood started 21st and finished 20th.

Evernham Motorsports comes to Talladega with the same preparation, although a rules change by NASCAR may mean more work to find the same speed. The team has redoubled its efforts in the garage over the past two weeks to learn how the cars handle with the adjusted roof blade and how they can compensate for the change.

"Talladega always been a good track for me, especially before the restrictor plates," said Bill Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T. "Now, with the different roof blade on the Dodge, I have no idea what to expect. There's nothing you can do to compensate. If it's there, it's there."

Elliott, who has had two wins, eight poles and 22 top 10 finishes in 46 starts at Talladega, knows what it takes to win the race at the Talladega Superspeedway. He leads all drivers in poles at Talladega and is tied among several active drivers for most victories (two). He also holds the fastest qualifying lap at 212.809 mph (44.998 seconds) on April 30, 1987.

"There again, it's your strategy during the day," said Elliott. "You've just got to wait for the big wreck and hope you aren't in it. We had a good race there last fall, but this year is entirely different." Rookie Casey Atwood, driving the No. 19 Dodge Dealers Intrepid R/T, is excited about Talladega. He ran there twice in the Busch Series, with eighth as his best finish.

"It's kind of the same as Daytona," said Atwood. "You've got a lot more room there. I'm excited to get out there. I still think we can run good at Talladega. We've worked hard on the Dodge to come out and be strong there. I don't know how the rules change is going to affect us. I leave that up to Ray and the guys."

Atwood also likes the history of the track. "I went to the museum last year and it was pretty cool," he added. "The old cars, particularly the old Dodge winged cars, were pretty neat. I also liked Waltrip's wrecked car. I couldn't believe he walked away from that."

Eight races into the season, Bill Elliott is ninth in the points standings, with one pole, one top five and four top 15 finishes. Rookie Casey Atwood is 34th in points and fourth in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race.

-EM-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Casey Atwood