DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Casey Atwood will make a curtain call with Evernham Motorsports today in the Budweiser Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway.
After being unceremoniously moved out of one of Evernham's Dodge Intrepids at the end of the 2001 season, Atwood will return for today's all-star race among pole winners.
"It's a full 19-team deal," Atwood said of the effort that will include one of Jeremy Mayfield's cars as well as his crew. "We got the pole for this team last year (at Phoenix), so Ray (Evernham) wanted to put me back in the car and have the same team pit it in the Shootout."
Since Atwood's new team, Ultra Motorsports, has struggled with their cars for Daytona, the driver accepted Evernham's offer.
Today's winner will earn $200,000.
The race doesn't count toward the Winston Cup Series standings. In fact, there only are 22 drivers in the 70-lap dash for cash. The field was limited to the pole winners from a year ago and former winners of the all-star race.
Kurt Busch won the pole position in a blind drawing.
"I feel real good about the situation," Atwood said. "We'll get in 70 laps of racing, and hopefully, that will prepare us even better for the Daytona 500."
The Budweiser Shootout is the first racing event of the Winston Cup season. Teams went through pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Saturday. Every team in both races brought two cars to Daytona with a plan to use the best of the two in the 500 and the backup in the shootout.
By winning the pole for next Sunday's Daytona 500, Jimmie Johnson earned a starting spot in next year's Budweiser Shootout.