ATLANTA - (Oct. 28, 2003) Showing the skill and patience that makes him one of NASCAR's top young drivers, Paul Wolfe drove from the back-of-the-field to finish 19th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312 on Saturday, Oct.
ATLANTA - (Oct. 28, 2003) Showing the skill and patience that makes him one of NASCAR's top young drivers, Paul Wolfe drove from the back-of-the-field to finish 19th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312 on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Wolfe qualified the LIPTON®-RAGÚ® Dodge 20th out of a field of 50 cars on Friday, Oct. 24 with a time of 29.700 seconds (186.667 mph) at the 1.54-mile track. However, he had to start from the rear of the field in 40th place because the team had to make a last-minute engine change in his Tommy Baldwin Racing-owned Dodge.
The race was Wolfe's second in his Busch Series career. He finished 16th in his only other race in the series at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 20. Atlanta is known as one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR, with speeds exceeding 200 mph on the straightaways.
"Atlanta is a fast and demanding track," car owner and crew chief Tommy Baldwin, Jr. said. "Considering this was his first time here, Paul did an exceptional job and ran a very consistent race."
Wolfe, who climbed to as high as 13th in the race, passed 10 cars in the first six laps to reach the 30th position at the first caution on lap 6. By lap 20, he was in 25th place, and he entered the top-20 on lap 52. From there, Wolfe never fell below 21st place and eventually settled for 19th after battling for position with several top-20 cars in the last half of the race.
"I look at this race as another building block for my NASCAR career," Wolfe said. "My goal coming in was to be competitive and absorb as much as I could. With each lap I ran, I learned a little more. Our team also did a great job switching engines and preparing for the race. It was definitely a satisfying outcome for us."
Greg Biffle won the Bud Pole with a time of 28.830 seconds (192.300 mph) and finished first in the race just ahead of Matt Kenseth. The rest of the top-five were Bobby Hamilton, Jr., Michael Waltrip and Hank Parker, Jr.