BROOKLYN MI (6-13-03) Casey Mears, in the final moments of ARCA RE/MAX Series qualifying, knocked Kyle Busch off the Old Milwaukee Pole with a new one-lap track record of 188.073 mph Friday at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Mears, in Chip Ganassi's Target Dodge, eclipsed Jason Jarrett's old mark (185.000) by more than 3 mph. It was Mears' second consecutive ARCA RE/MAX Series pole. Mears also set a new one-lap track record last week at Pocono.
"Our car was tight in practice, and we changed the right front spring (softening it) and took some wedge out of the right front," said Mears. "It made a lot of difference for qualifying. Practicing here last month, I learned a lot for the Winston Cup race. This is the best-balanced car I've ever had here. Chip (Ganassi/car owner) told me the more you run, the better you get."
Busch, quickest in practice earlier in the day, had to settle for outside pole with a speed of 186.877. "The track got hotter and we got slower," said Busch, who won two ARCA RE/MAX Series races earlier this year at Nashville and Kentucky. "I'm not happy at all. It changed eight degrees from when he (Mears) went out to when I went out. We tested here in April and that's when I learned the line around here. Kurt (Busch, older brother and current Winston Cup driver) told me I had a good run in practice and he said he hoped I could back it up. I'd like to let Casey set the pace and then maybe I can dust him off."
Hermie Sadler, making his career-first ARCA RE/MAX Series start in Saturday's Flagstar ARCA 200, qualified third with a speed of 186.350 ahead of current point leader and four-time RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel who qualified fourth with a speed of 185.119. Eric McClure, in the Morgan-McClure Kodak Chevrolet, completed the top-five qualifiers at 183.496.
Saturday's Flagstar ARCA 200 at Michigan Int'l Speedway is scheduled to roll off at 1 pm eastern. The race will be aired same-day on SPEED Channel at 8 pm eastern.