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CASEY
ATWOOD

Car: 19 Dodge
Primary Sponsor: Dodge Dealers
Team: Evernham Motorsports
Crew Chief: Patrick Donahue

2001

ROOKIE
OF THE
YEAR?

Schooling will come quickly in 2001 for Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Casey Atwood, who has only three Winston Cup starts for team owner Ray Evernham.

Atwood, a native of the Nashville suburb of Antioch, Tenn., cut his teeth at the Nashville Speedway USA half-mile that made the early NASCAR names of such a diverse group as Coo Coo and Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Green. He made an impressive debut in Winston Cup racing ironically in No. 19 Motorola Fords fielded by Evernham, who made his name in DuPont Chevrolets driven by Jeff Gordon.

The popular phenom who only made his Busch Series debut in 1998, made his first Winston Cup start amid great fanfare at Richmond International Raceway in September, where he finished 19th -- even while he struggled in his Busch Series ride with Brewco Motorsports. However, he scored his first career Winston Cup top-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after earning a workmanlike 25th place finish at Martinsville Speedway. Atwood proved he might be an adept qualifier by starting fifth last season at Homestead in only his third Winston Cup start.

In 2001 Atwood will drive No. 19 Dodge Dealer Network Intrepids wrenched by Patrick Donahue.

Atwood won his first Busch Series pole in only his second start as a 17-year-old and finished second in the race at Nashville Speedway USA. He won the pole later that season at Homestead.

He scored his first Busch Series victory in a controversial manner at Milwaukee in 1999 when he elbowed current champion Jeff Green aside to become the youngest driver, at 18 years, 10 months and nine days, to win a series event. He won his second career NBS event in September 1999 at Dover, Del.

He finished eighth in the 2000 Busch Series standings, winning poles at Nashville and South Boston, Va., and scoring eight top-10 finishes.

Atwood began his driving career at age 10 racing karts in the World Karting Association. He won three straight Tennessee State Karting championships and two WKA titles.

He began driving Late Model Stock Cars at age 15 at Highland Rim Speedway north of Nashville and had more than a dozen victories before his 16th birthday. He won rookie of the year honors in Nashville Speedway's Late Model Stock Car division in 1996 and drove in a Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville later that year.

 

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