Charlotte II: Casey Mears race report

Mears, Jack Daniel's Team Earn Top-10 Finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway CONCORD, N.C. -- Sound pit strategy allowed Casey Mears and the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet team to come from the back of the pack in Saturday's NASCAR Banking 500 to...

Mears, Jack Daniel's Team Earn Top-10 Finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway

CONCORD, N.C. -- Sound pit strategy allowed Casey Mears and the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet team to come from the back of the pack in Saturday's NASCAR Banking 500 to finish seventh at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The solid run advanced the Richard Childress Racing team one spot, to 18th, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship point standings.

During each practice session, Mears & Co. tried to find a setup that would perform well for the Saturday evening's 500-mile event. The No. 07 team left the track Friday evening with high hopes as they found a little extra speed in the closing minutes of the final practice session.

Although he started 42nd, Mears used patience to methodically work his way to 26th before a slight mist brought out the evening's third yellow flag on lap 36. Under that caution, crew chief Todd Berrier called for a two-tire and fuel pit stop in order to gain track position. The strategy moved the Bakersfield, Calif., native up to eighth for the lap-42 restart.

From there, the No. 07 Chevy was a mainstay in the top 10, running as high as fourth through the next 79 laps. Mears and Berrier found their black and white Impala SS handled better on two fresher tires, a decision other teams picked up on, as well. The former LMS-race winner lost positions as he took on four fresh tires, while others took on right-ride tires during a lap 121-caution, dropping him to 17th.

Mears maintained his position in the top 22 through the middle stages of the 334-lap event, recording comparable lap times to the leader on longer green-flag runs. Because their earlier decision of a two-tire stop warranted the results they were looking for, the Berrier-led team waited until a lap-292 caution to use that same strategy to their advantage. Once again, Mears gained valuable track position as result of the two-tire pit stop, lining up fifth for the restart.

Mears raced hard to maintain his top-five spot through the next 26 circuits, but lost two spots on the night's final restart on lap 218. The Jack Daniel's team improved a total of 35 positions before taking the checkered flag in seventh.

Mears' RCR teammates Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick finished sixth, 14th and 18th, respectively.

Jimmie Johnson earned his sixth Charlotte race win. Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five finishers.

Next weekend, NASCAR's senior circuit heads to Martinsville, Va. for the Tums Fast Relief 500.

Casey Mears: "I'm really proud of Todd Berrier (crew chief) and the entire No. 07 Jack Daniel's team tonight. We've had some really strong runs over the last six races and we finally have the finish we deserve. We're really starting to click as a team and we're looking forward to carrying this momentum over to the final five races of the season."

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer , Joey Logano
Teams Richard Childress Racing