Martinsville: Casey Mears preview

* Standings: Casey Mears and the Texaco/Havoline team now sit eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings following their 25th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has remained in the top 10 in points since the season opener in Daytona. *...

* Standings: Casey Mears and the Texaco/Havoline team now sit eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings following their 25th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has remained in the top 10 in points since the season opener in Daytona.

* 2006 vs. 2005: Mears has accumulated 642 points in the first five races with the No. 42 team, an improvement of 174 points from this time last year. Following the Bristol race last season, Mears was 26th heading to Martinsville and had earned 468 points. Seven of the top-10 drivers in points following the Bristol race in 2005 qualified for the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup."

* Martinsville: Mears has competed in six races at Martinsville Speedway in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. He has finished 17th twice, which is his career-best finish at the short track, including last year's April event.

* Preparations: The Texaco/Havoline team has tested twice at Caraway Speedway in preparation for this weekend's 500-lap event at Martinsville. Caraway Speedway is a .455-mile oval with an inside curb that is similar to the distinct characteristics of the Martinsville track.

* Chassis: Wingo and the Texaco/Havoline team will take chassis #506 to Martinsville for this weekend's DirecTV 500. This is the chassis that Mears and the team tested on both occasions at Caraway Speedway.

Casey Mears Quotes:

"Martinsville has typically been a tough track for me," said Mears. "Last year I ran better, but there is still room for improvement. Before the fall race last year, I actually tested with Wingo and the team at Martinsville. He's made some changes to the set up, and I believe the team as a whole has improved the cars, so we should all perform better.

"We've tested at Caraway twice to prepare for this race. I'm looking forward to seeing if what we learned from Caraway will translate at Martinsville. The tough part for me at Martinsville has always been getting the car to turn through the center of the corners, and that's what we focused on during those test sessions. We found some things that worked for me and hopefully that will help this weekend.

"You would think running at Bristol last weekend would help for Martinsville, but the tracks and the approach are totally different. You use so much brake at Martinsville and you don't have to do that at Bristol. Fortunately, the brakes we use now are so good it is tough to wear them out, but as a driver you are always a little cautious about them."

-cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Casey Mears