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Atwood Wins DieHard 200 Pole

July 3, 1999

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) _ Eighteen-year-old Busch Series sophomore sensation Casey Atwood won the third pole of his career with a record-breaking run in qualifying Saturday for the DieHard 200.

The driver from Nashville, Tenn., took the inside front-row spot for the race Sunday by touring The Milwaukee Mile in 29.649 seconds, averaging 121.421 mph. His Chevrolet was one of 21 cars to eclipse Jeff Purvis’ year-old mark of 119.904.

Points leader and defending series champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. was slightly injured in a crash during the morning practice. He did not attempt to qualify his car, instead relying on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday.

Earnhardt was injured when his Chevy hit the wall hard. He was transported to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, where he was treated for a small chip in his right shoulder blade.

The pole was the first this year for Atwood, who has five top-10 finishes and stands 12th in the series after 17 of 32 races.

Elton Sawyer’s Ford was second-fastest at 121.163, followed by the Chevys of Todd Bodine at 121.102, Mike Bliss at 120.927, and Jason Keller at 120.797.

Earnhardt returned to the track after qualifying, and is expected to drive Sunday. Hornaday, who will drive the car next year when Earnhardt moves up to the elite Winston Cup division, qualified 15th.

Matt Kenseth, second in the points race, qualified eighth.

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