BUSCH: Fulltime Ride for Atwood Next Year

Full-time ride next up for Atwood Brett Borden NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 4, 1998) He has the wide-eyed innocence one expects from a 17-year-old competing in a grown man's world, though you'd never know that watching him fly around a race...

Full-time ride next up for Atwood Brett Borden

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 4, 1998) He has the wide-eyed innocence one expects from a 17-year-old competing in a grown man's world, though you'd never know that watching him fly around a race track, trading paint with veteran drivers.

Casey Atwood, the son of a Nashville electrical contractor, is putting a jolt in the world of NASCAR with his accomplishments at an age when most would only dare go hard into the corner in the imaginary world of a video game. Atwood has already won a Bud Pole Award and finished second in a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division event, the BellSouth Mobility/Opryland 320 at Nashville Speedway USA, without the luxury of hitting the reset button after a mistake.

He has a part-time ride in the series for the rest of the year with Brewco Motorsports, which also fields the No. 37 Timberwolf Chevrolet for Mark Green. Atwood and Green will be full-time teammates for Brewco next season. In an MCI teleconference Tuesday afternoon, Atwood spoke of how he's come so far so fast, and what it was like to race against the big names of the NASCAR Busch Series in March.

"It was a big deal," said Atwood of that initial showdown with the big boys on his home track. "My first race I was really scared. I'm good friends with Randy LaJoie. When I raced go-karts I raced with his godson. He and some of the other guys have been all been real helpful to me."

So has his natural driving ability, honed at an absurdly early age. It's not absurdly to him, though.

"Training somebody while they're young ... that's when you've got to do it," Atwood said. "Some of this stuff is hard to learn when you get older."

Stuff like sticking your nose in at the right time to gain that position on the track. Atwood says he learned such things watching one of the best.

"Ever since I was a little kid I've always loved Darrell Waltrip," he said. "It seems he'd wait until the last 100 laps to charge to the front, and that's kind of what I like to do. Only in today's competitive world of racing you kind of have to go flat out the whole time."

Another NASCAR Winston Cup Series star was also instrumental in helping Atwood along in his burgeoning career.

"Bobby Hamilton kind of took me under his wing early on and helped me out," Atwood said. "He put my cars in his shop, taught me about race cars. He's been a great help to me."

With stardom approaching quickly for young Atwood, it seems that his days of just being a kid are dwindling just as fast. So many success stories in the world of sports are being written at an early age today -- Jeff Gordon, Tiger Woods-- leaving little time for these young athletes to enjoy many of the things the rest of us take for granted.

"Next year will probably get pretty hectic," Atwood said. "But this year I get to continue to do some stuff as a kid. Nobody is forcing anything on me, this is what I have chosen to do."

And Atwood has secured a fulltime ride for next year, a prospect that makes the electical contractor's son light up with excitement.

"All they want to do is win," Atwood said. "It's going to be a great time."

Source: NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Darrell Waltrip , Casey Atwood , Mark Green