Garage Chatter: Michigan

Mears signs with Hendrick: As expected, Casey Mears has signed to drive the No. 25 Chevrolet replacing Brian Vickers starting in 2007. Mears signed a multi-year agreement that will keep him in place at Hendrick Motorsports through the 2009 ...

Mears signs with Hendrick: As expected, Casey Mears has signed to drive the No. 25 Chevrolet replacing Brian Vickers starting in 2007. Mears signed a multi-year agreement that will keep him in place at Hendrick Motorsports through the 2009 season.

"I'm committed to winning races and going after championships with the No. 25 team," said Mears. "This is an opportunity for me to work with close friends and start fresh with one of the top organizations in all of sports. It's an exciting situation for me, both personally and professionally."

Vickers still shopping?: Despite being seen at several race shops last week, insiders say that Brian Vickers has already inked his deal for 2007 and beyond.

Look for an announcement very soon.

Lester tries for second Cup race: Bill Lester will attempt to make the field at Michigan International Raceway this weekend. If he makes it in, it will be his second Cup start - Lester made the field at the Atlanta race previously this year. Although finishing six laps down in 38th place, Lester was a media darling in Atlanta.

He was the first African American man to make a race in 18 years. Lester will also pilot his main ride, the No. 22 Toyota, in the truck series race at MIS on Saturday.

Weldon not lead candidate for 42 car? Despite some reports, insiders say that IRL driver Dan Weldon is not the top contender to take the seat of the No. 42 Dodge at Ganassi Racing when Casey Mears departs at the end of the season.

Two current Cup drivers with some wiggle room in their contracts are said to be in discussions with Ganassi and at the top of a very short list.

Kahne turns fastest lap in practice: Kasey Kahne turned the quickest lap in initial practice for Nextel Cup teams at MIS. Kahne's lap of 183.777 mph just bested the second place time of Kyle Busch.

Scott Riggs, Jeff Gordon and Joe Nemechek complete the top five times.

"You hope your engine runs good," said Kahne of driving at MIS. "You hope your aerodynamic package is good and the balance. I think we've figured out a lot of things on our Dodge Chargers at the mile and a half tracks this year, and really we ran pretty good at California. I'm looking forward to it. We've got our best racecar here. This car is three for three. Hopefully we can get another top five and keep gaining in the points. We want to have a consistent run. We've got a couple of top 10s in a row here and we want to keep that rolling. We've got to do everything right. I know the car is going to be fast and we'll be able to work on it and make it better."

Cup qualifying is set to get underway at 3:10 pm EST Friday afternoon.

Another weekend of double duty: With the Cup series in Michigan and the Busch series in Kentucky it is another weekend of double duty for Denny Hamlin, Reed Sorenson, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, JJ Yeley, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.

The Busch series practices Friday in Kentucky with qualifying and race set for Saturday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Casey Mears , Scott Riggs , Kasey Kahne , Bill Lester , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Reed Sorenson , Dan Weldon , Kyle Busch
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Hendrick Motorsports