Martinsville: Casey Mears race report

Martinsville is a new textbook for Mears. MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 13, 2003) --- Martinsville Speedway proved to be a whole new textbook in Casey Mears' Winston Cup education. Mears had never competed on the half-mile track or raced on anything...

Martinsville is a new textbook for Mears.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (April 13, 2003) --- Martinsville Speedway proved to be a whole new textbook in Casey Mears' Winston Cup education. Mears had never competed on the half-mile track or raced on anything like it in his racing career. Yet, he completed the Virginia 500 and took home a 36th place finish with 496 laps of Martinsville education under his belt.

Mears, a Raybests rookie candidate, started his Target Dodge in 22nd position for the 500-lap event but within 10 laps of the race, he radioed in to the crew that the car would not turn at all. This problem became the subject of the day as Team Target adjusted on the car during every pit stop to make it turn better. Although, Mears raced in the back of the field, he was able to keep up with the leaders at times. His 36th place finish puts him in 36th in Championship points as well.

"I am disappointed with the finish but I did come out of here with a lot of laps under my belt at this place," Mears said after the race. "This is my first race here and my first time on such a short track that requires a lot of braking. Team Target gave me great pit stops today. We had some problems with the turning of the car; it was tight all day. The good thing is that we completed the whole race and we're learning every weekend. I'll be prepared when we come back here later in the season."

"Casey made pretty decent progress here today," crew chief Jimmy Elledge said. "For his first race at Martinsville, he did pretty good. I've seen guys come here year after year and not progress as much as he did here today."

Ganassi teammates Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray finished sixth and 39th respectively. Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, won the race; his first win of the season.

Team Target will enjoy their first off-weekend of the season this week. After resting up for a week, the team heads to California Speedway for the Auto Club 500. The race will be broadcast live on April 27 on FOX television and MRN radio.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray