Indianapolis: Casey Mears preview
Texaco/Havoline Team Facts:
* Standings: Casey Mears and the Texaco/Havoline team remain 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings for the fifth-consecutive race week. With six races remaining before "The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup," Mears sits 292 points out of 10th place.
* Track Record: Mears still holds the Indianapolis Motor Speedway qualifying record for the Brickyard 400. He set the record in August of 2004 by turning a lap time of 48.311 seconds around the 2.5-mile track at a speed of 186.293 mph. It was the second-career NEXTEL Cup Series pole for Mears; he earned his first pole just one week earlier at Pocono.
* Indy stats: Mears will be making his fourth start at the famed Speedway where his Uncle Rick captured four Indianapolis 500 victories. He finished sixth last year, a career-best finish at the track, after starting from the 40th position. Mears scraped the wall in qualifying and the team had to bring out a back-up Dodge.
* Ganassi at Indy: Team Owner Chip Ganassi also has a rich history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Before becoming a team owner, Ganassi drove open-wheel cars. He had five starts at IMS in the Indianapolis 500 and finished a career-high of eighth in 1983. He won his first Indianapolis 500 as partial owner in 1989, and in May of 2000 visited victory lane as sole owner of Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Juan Pablo Montoya.
* Chassis: Crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Texaco/Havoline team are bringing chassis #403 to the Brickyard this weekend. Mears tested this chassis at the open Indianapolis Motor Speedway test the week of July 10.
* Meet Mears: Mears will be signing autographs from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday night as part of the Dodge Racers on the Circle event. Dodge will be giving out tickets for Mears' autograph line beginning at 6 p.m.
Casey Mears Quotes:
On Indy ...
"I cant' wait to get back to Indy. A win at Indianapolis would mean more to me than a win at any other track we race on for the obvious reasons. To this day, one of my most memorable moments in racing was winning the pole in 2004. It was unreal to me. As I've gotten older, I've really come to appreciate Indy, its history and what my family has accomplished there. I was too young to see my dad and uncle race there, so I grew up attached to it through television. I think most people would be surprised to know the first time I ever stepped foot at Indy was not until the early 90s after I won a Jim Russell USAC Championship and they were holding the banquet at the Speedway. My first lap at the track was as a passenger in an SUV and the track was covered in about six inches of snow.
"Last year we had a really good car, a car capable of winning. Unfortunately, I scraped the wall with it in qualifying and ended up starting 40th. The set up was great though, because before I knew it I was running in the top 10. This year we tested pretty well, so I'm excited about going back. The guys have worked hard on this car, so I can't wait to see what it can do this weekend."
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