Casey Atwood

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Casey Atwood
Casey Atwood Stater Bros 2004.jpg
Casey Atwood at the Stater Bros. 300, 2004
Born (1980-08-25) August 25, 1980 (age 35)
Antioch, Tennessee, U.S.
Achievements Youngest Pole sitter in Xfinity Series history
Awards 1996 Fairgrounds Speedway Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
75 races run over 4 years
Best finish 26th (2001)
First race 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 (Richmond)
Last race 2003 Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 4 1
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
158 races run over 10 years
2009 position 44th
Best finish 8th (2000)
First race 1998 GM Goodwrench Service Plus 200 (Rockingham)
Last race 2009 Able Body Labor 200 (Phoenix)
First win 1999 DieHard 250 (Milwaukee)
Last win 1999 MBNA Gold 200 (Dover)
Wins Top tens Poles
2 30 6
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
4 races run over 2 years
Best finish 52nd (2005)
First race 1996 Federated Auto Parts 250 (Nashville)
Last race 2005 World Financial Group 200 (Atlanta)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 0 0
Statistics current as of July 3, 2012.

Casey Lee Atwood (born August 25, 1980 in Antioch, Tennessee)[1][2] is an American stock car racing driver. A former competitor in NASCAR competition, he is the youngest pole winner in NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) history, earning a pole start at the age of 17.[3]

Atwood had his most success in the Busch Series in 1999 and 2000, driving the #27 Chevrolet for Brewco Motorsports. Atwood became the youngest winner in series history in 1999 at 18 years, 313 days (the record would later be broken in 2008 by Joey Logano at 18 years, 21 days old).[4][3][5] Atwood's performance led many to label him as "the next Jeff Gordon," and landed him a factory-backed Dodge ride in the Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series) with Evernham Motorsports for 2001. His struggles at the Cup level over two seasons, however, derailed his career, with his last Cup start coming in 2003 at the young age of 22.[3] After spending parts of seven seasons back in the Busch Series, Atwood's national series career ended in 2009.

Early life[edit]

Growing up in Antioch, Tennessee outside of Nashville,[1] Atwood became interested in racing at a young age. By the age of ten, Atwood was racing go-karts. He later progressed to Late Model Stock racing by the age of 15. He was the 1996 rookie of the year at Nashville Speedway USA.[4][6] Casey attended John Overton High School in Nashville until he dropped out in 1999 to pursue his racing career.

NASCAR career[edit]

Busch Series[edit]

Atwood debuted in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1998 at North Carolina Speedway with a modest 21st-place finish,[7] but stunned the racing world upon his next attempt. At his home track Nashville Speedway in March, the 17-year-old Atwood qualified on the pole position, making him the youngest pole winner in NASCAR history.[3] A brilliant performance would follow, as Atwood led 104 laps and ultimately brought his No. 28 Red Line Oil Chevrolet home in 2nd place to Mike McLaughlin.[7] Atwood made sporadic starts over the course of the year, none equal to his second race, but after moving from Larry Lockamy's part-time team to Hensley Racing in September, the driver had strong showings at Atlanta (where he started 36th but made his way to the front) and Homestead (where he claimed his second pole). By the end of 1998 he had won two poles and 5 top 20's in 13 races.[1]

In 1999, he joined the Brewco Motorsports #27 Castrol GTX Chevrolet team for his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series.[1] Atwood flipped during the first race of the season at Daytona International Speedway, after he was tapped by Andy Hillenburg coming to the white flag.[8] Atwood became the youngest winner in Busch Series History when he won at the Milwaukee Mile at the age of 18 on July 4, 1999, which would stand until Joey Logano bested Atwood's mark by winning the Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway on June 14, 2008 at the age of 18 years and 21 days.[3] Atwood won another race at Dover in September and scored two pole starts. He finished 1999 with two wins, five top 5's and nine top 10's. He finished 13th in points. 2000 proved to be another good year for Atwood, as he managed to have two poles and 8 top 10's, finishing 8th in points.[3]

Winston Cup[edit]

Atwood in 2003

In 2000, Atwood made his Winston Cup debut in a #19 Motorola Ford for Ray Evernham at Richmond International Raceway.[9] He started 35th and finished 19th, two laps down. He made two more starts that year and earned his first top 10, a 10th at Homestead. Atwood moved up to NASCAR Winston Cup full-time in 2001 in the #19 Dodge Dealers car for Evernham's team Evernham Motorsports, a newly formed team under the Dodge banner, to compete for Rookie of the Year honors. Atwood was the youngest driver in the series in 2001.[6][10][11] He was nicknamed the "Next Jeff Gordon," due to Gordon's similar rise from Busch to Cup at a young age,[4] and was teammate to former Cup Champion, Bill Elliott. Atwood struggled through the year, but improved as the season went on, winning the pole at Phoenix and was in contention to win the race, while leading the race a flat tire slowed his day as he was only able to make it back to 14th place by the end of the race.[4] A week later at the season finale at Homestead, he was leading with five laps to go, but was passed by Elliott and Michael Waltrip. Atwood would place third, his career-best Cup finish.[4] Atwood also finished third in the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year standings (behind future Cup champions Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch), and 26th in Cup standings.

In 2002, with the signing of Jeremy Mayfield to drive the #19, Atwood moved from Evernham's team to the #7 of Ultra Motorsports as part of an alliance between Evernham and Ultra owner Jim Smith, where Smith's team would switch from Ford to Dodge and receive equipment and engines from Evernham. The team was known as Ultra-Evernham Motorsports, and sponsored by Sirius Satellite Radio.[4][12][13][14] Atwood struggled throughout the year, having no top 10's, and just one top-10 qualifying effort and finishing 35th in points.[4] With two races left in the season, he was fired by Jim Smith (which also brought an abrupt end to the Ultra/Evernham partnership) and was replaced by Jason Leffler for the rest of 2002, and later Jimmy Spencer in 2003.[15][16] Atwood ran the last race of the year in Evernham's #91 Dodge and qualified 12th, but finished poorly.[15][6] Also during 2002, Atwood drove an Evernham ARCA car bearing his former #19 at Pocono and dominated, winning the race from the pole.[17]

In 2003, he drove Evernham's #91 research and development car for two races. At Pocono Raceway with sponsorship from Mountain Dew LiveWire, Atwood finished 40th after engine troubles. He also ran in the Brickyard 400 without sponsorship, but was only able to muster a 31st place finish.[17][18] Atwood's most recent appearance in the series was a failed qualifying attempt in the #95 car for the 2006 Ford 400 at Homestead. He was driving a Brewco-prepared Scott Towels/Kleenex Ford for Stanton Barrett.[19][20]

Return to Busch[edit]

2004 Busch Series car at Lowe's Motor Speedway (now Charlotte Motor Speedway)

After his release from Evernham Motorsports in the Cup Series, Atwood was expected to return to Brewco's 27 (recently vacated by Jamie McMurray),[15][6] but the ride instead went to Chase Montgomery and Joey Clanton. Beginning at Kentucky in June 2003, Atwood drove the #14 Navy Chevrolet for FitzBradshaw Racing, a second car for the team. Atwood also ran three races in the team's third #82 Chevy. Atwood returned to the #14 full-time for FitzBradshaw in 2004. Atwood scored seven top ten finishes, but was inconsistent outside of those races. He nearly won at Richmond in September, leading 83 laps, but was tapped by Martin Truex Jr. with less than ten laps to go, allowing Robby Gordon to win. Atwood would finish second in the race. Atwood was diagnosed by owner Armando Fitz of having "a lack of confidence and no aggression on the race track", proceeding to hire a psychologist for the driver. Atwood was released from the team with five races remaining in the season, replaced by Chip Ganassi Racing development driver David Stremme (Fitz was the son-in-law of CGR co-owner Felix Sabates).[3][21][22] Atwood was 13th in points at the time, and he fell back to 19th by the end of the season. In 2005 he drove four races for Evernham Motorsports in the #6 Unilever Dodge.

2009 Nationwide car at Milwaukee

In early to mid-2006, Atwood practiced and qualified the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet for J. J. Yeley in select races, due to conflicts with Yeley's Nextel Cup Series schedule. Atwood would also occupy this role in 2009 for Kyle Busch. Atwood would later say that these cars, prepared by former Brewco mechanic Jason Ratcliff, were the best he'd ever driven.[4][23] Beginning at Richmond in September, he returned to the #27 car for Brewco Motorsports for the rest of 2006. Atwood was replaced by Ward Burton in the #27 car at Brewco for 2007. After a year away from the sport, he returned to Brewco (then known as Baker-Curb Racing) to pilot the 27 car in 2008.[3] In 2009, Atwood qualified for 20 races in the #05 car for Wayne Day, and finished 44th in points.

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

Atwood first appeared on the NASCAR scene in 1996, at the age of 16, in a Craftsman Truck Series race at Nashville Speedway USA. He finished 32nd in the #48 STP Chevrolet. In 2005, Atwood was picked up by Bobby Hamilton Racing to drive the first three races of the Craftsman Truck Series season in the #4 Bailey's Cigarettes Dodge. Atwood ran well during the three race stint, but scored no top tens.

Post-NASCAR career[edit]

After three years away from racing, Atwood returned to competition in 2012, competing in late model competition at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in a car owned by Sterling Marlin.[4][23]

Personal life[edit]

Atwood posing with a young fan at Dover in 2004, courtesy of the U.S. Navy

Atwood currently resides in Nashville. He married his longtime girlfriend, Laura, in 2005. They have two daughters together.[4]

Motorsports career results[edit]


(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Nextel Cup Series[edit]

Daytona 500[edit]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
2001 Evernham Motorsports Dodge 21 20
2002 Ultra-Evernham Motorsports 36 35

Nationwide Series[edit]

Year Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Avg. Start Avg. Finish Winnings Position Team(s)
1998 13 0 1 1 2 16.9 20.1 $123,654 38th #28 LAR Motorsports
#27 Brewco Motorsports
#63 HVP Motorsports
1999 31 2 5 9 2 16.3 21.7 $579,713 13th #27 Brewco Motorsports
2000 32 0 0 8 2 16.3 19.3 $775,415 8th #27 Brewco Motorsports
2003 14 0 0 4 0 26.8 20.7 $214,886 37th #14/#82 FitzBradshaw Racing
2004 29 0 1 7 0 19.6 18.9 $763,441 19th #14 FitzBradshaw Racing
2005 4 0 0 1 0 22.2 20.5 $82,520 76th #6 Evernham Motorsports
2006 8 0 0 0 0 17.0 20.6 $223,084 52nd #27 Brewco Motorsports
2007 4 0 0 0 0 27.0 20.0 $76,600 80th #27/#37 Brewco Motorsports
2008 3 0 0 0 0 24.3 32.0 $65,408 93rd #05 Day Enterprise Racing
#27 Baker Curb Racing
2009 20 0 0 0 0 27.8 34.7 $430,670 44th #05/#85 Day Enterprise Racing

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

ARCA Re/Max Series[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

* Season still in progress
1 Ineligible for series points


  1. ^ a b c d "BUSCH: Casey Atwood Gets Primary Sponsor". Central City, Kentucky: NASCAR. January 7, 1999. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  2. ^ Casey Atwood Career Statistics
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Sporting News Wire Service (July 19, 2008). "Logano driving Nationwide 20, but hoping for Cup 20". Madison, Illinois: NASCAR. Archived from the original on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Smith, Marty (May 15, 2014). "Hindsight haunts Casey Atwood". ESPN. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Logano makes history as youngest Nationwide Series winner
  6. ^ a b c d "Atwood, Evernham part ways". November 23, 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Akers, Shawn A. (March 15, 1998). "BUSCH: Casey Atwood Nashville Review". Nashville, Tennessee: NASCAR. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  8. ^ "BUSCH: Daytona Race left Many Cars to be Repaired". Daytona Beach, Florida: NASCAR. February 13, 1999. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Evernham returns to Richmond". Richmond, Virginia: September 6, 2000. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Shapiro, Mark (July 13, 2001). "The field of hopefuls". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  11. ^ "Casey Atwood picked for second Dodge team". Concord, North Carolina:, NASCAR. May 25, 2000. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Evernham Motorsports and Ultra Motorsports form partnership" Check |url= value (help). Atlanta, Georgia: November 16, 2001. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Dodge Motorsports (January 7, 2002). "Dodge Evernham, Ultra team on 2002 season". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Ultra Motorsports (January 7, 2002). "Sirius named sponsor of Atwood's Winston Cup". Las Vegas: Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c "BUSCH: Atwood out at Evernham, may return to Busch". December 4, 2002. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  16. ^ Evernham Motorsports (November 8, 2002). "Ultra/Evernham Motorsports dissolves partnership". Retrieved 1 October 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Evernham Motorsports No. 91 sponsor for Pocono". Purchase, New York: May 2, 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  18. ^ "Indianapolis: Jeremy Mayfield preview". July 30, 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  19. ^ Spencer, Reid (August 24, 2014). "Joey Logano defied the odds with career renaissance at Penske"., NASCAR. Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Dahlstrom, Kurt (November 17, 2006). "Casey Atwood". Retrieved 17 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Glick, Shav (September 3, 2005). "Driven to Be Diverse: Team owner Fitz is trying to lead the Latino charge in NASCAR". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "BUSCH: Stremme to pilot #14 in remaining races". Mooresville, North Carolina: October 26, 2004. Retrieved October 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Woody, Larry (April 13, 2012). "Atwood Gets Back On Track". Racin' Today. Retrieved 2012-04-13. 

External links[edit]