Daytona 500: Mears "Speedweeks" preview

Casey Mears and No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Texaco/Havoline Team Facts: * New colors, new attitude: Casey Mears will be making his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start in the red and black colors of Texaco/Havoline for the ...

Casey Mears and No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge

Texaco/Havoline Team Facts:

* New colors, new attitude: Casey Mears will be making his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start in the red and black colors of Texaco/Havoline for the Daytona 500. Mears, who is teamed up with crew chief Donnie Wingo, begins his fourth season in the Cup Series and with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

* Going for two: Mears will attempt to visit victory lane at Daytona International Speedway for the second time in 2006. Mears became the first active NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver to win the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona last month with Chip Ganassi Racing IndyRacing League drivers Scott Dixon and Dan Weldon as teammates.

* Daytona: Mears will be looking for his first top-five finish at Daytona International Speedway in his Cup Career. His best finish at the 2.5-mile superspeedway was 11th in the 2004 Pepsi 400. Mears was involved in incidents during both races at Daytona last year and is looking to turn his luck around this season.

* New driver, same crew: Crew chief Wingo has kept the majority of the 2004 and 2005 Texaco/Havoline team intact. Mears will have a crew behind him that has seen success on the track and that just missed the "Chase for the Nextel Cup" the last two seasons.

Casey Mears Quotes:

"I'm really looking forward to this season. I am extremely excited to be with Texaco/Havoline. It's a sponsor that has a rich heritage in racing, and my dad (Roger Mears) even has a picture of him and my uncle (Rick Mears) with the Chevron emblems on from the mid 70s. I've already done a few appearances for them, and they are really putting their support behind me and this team.

"I'm a lot more confident heading into this season. I'm coming off a solid finish from 2005, the win at the Rolex race and the team is really focused. Donnie (crew chief Wingo) and I are working really well together and the communication is already there. The one advantage we have, and it is thanks to the way Chip and Felix have the teams set up, is that Donnie was never further away than across the table during all our meetings. So it's not like I'm working with someone I didn't know or haven't worked with before.

"We tested the Texaco/Havoline Dodge at Daytona, Nashville and Las Vegas and we were all optimistic after each test session. Here at Daytona we didn't have the speed out there when we did our qualifying runs, but the drafting sessions went much better.

"Restrictor-plate racing is always white-knuckle racing. You try and remain cool and patient, but there are 42 other drivers out there that have to remain patient also. It's hard, especially on the long runs because it's tough to pass and if your car is handling well you want to get up front. You have to have friends out there, and having two teammates that want to work with you will be an advantage for Reed (Sorenson), David (Stremme) and I."

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Rick Mears , Chip Ganassi , Roger Mears , Dan Weldon , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing