HILLIARD, OH . . . Even if he wasn't making his Camp Car debut this weekend, 22-year-old Casey Mears would have a big weekend ahead of him racing Sunday for the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. As it is with the Lights Championship on the line and his Champ Car debut scheduled an hour later in Team Rahal's #91 WorldCom Ford-Cosworth/Reynard, this is the biggest weekend of the young driver's racing career. In pulling off the "daily double" he becomes the first driver in CART history to drive in two CART sanctioned series in a single day.
"This is the best opportunity I have ever had in my racing career getting to run a Champ Car for the first time and it will be a big step pushing forward in my career," said Mears. "I am a racer and I want to go out and win, but this is my first 500-mile race and the first time I have done pit stops during a race. A big thing for me is to see how the race plays out and to learn how the car feels and how it handles in traffic. If we get to the halfway point and things feel good I am going to go for it and go racing just like I have in the past."
Mears is the son of former Champ Car driver Roger Mears and the nephew of three-time CART Champion Rick Mears. He drives for Dorricott Racing in the Indy Lights Series and is third in the point standings just five points from the lead entering the final race at Fontana. Mears captured his first Indy Lights victory earlier this month at the Grand Prix of Houston with a dominating win from the pole.
"I promised Casey he could have a chance to test one of Team Rahal's cars this season and Casey helped us out by testing at Fontana last month," said Team Rahal owner Bobby Rahal. "He certainly proved he is at home in a Champ Car during the test, and through his own dedication and hard work he has assembled the necessary resources with WorldCom for a ride in our test car at Fontana. We are thrilled to help him launch his Champ Car career near his home in California and I am confident that Casey will be a fixture in CART for years to come. He has developed his skills in the CART ladder system and now he is ready to take the step to racing in the world's fastest most powerful cars."
"The guys at Team Rahal have been great at making me feel at home in the car," said Mears. "If you look back over the last couple of years Team Rahal has proven they have a competitive package on the Super Speedways and they have given me a car that I feel really confident in. I have a lot of experience on my crew and so I will just take their advice and learn as the weekend proceeds."