Mears scores Brickyard pole

Casey Mears scored his second career pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mears' first career pole came last weekend at Pocono, making it back-to-back poles for the young Ganassi Dodge No. 41 driver. "I think this is a good feeling of...

Casey Mears scored his second career pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mears' first career pole came last weekend at Pocono, making it back-to-back poles for the young Ganassi Dodge No. 41 driver.

"I think this is a good feeling of redemption a little bit," said Mears. "We came here in 2001 and tried to qualify for the '500,' and I dreamed of everything as far as qualifying for this place. To have such a horrible month and not qualify for the show was just heartbreaking and to come in now and get the pole.

"I'm real happy. It was an awesome lap.I've watched this race as a young kid for a long time. I've watched my uncle in the Indy 500 and even my dad in the early 80's. I came here and missed the race in 2001. To not qualify that year was really a heartbreaker, and to be at the top of board now is really unbelievable."

Mears lap of 186.293 mph bested Ward Burton by almost a mile-per-hour. Burton's lap of 185.391 mph garnered him the outside pole.

"The team did a really good job," Burton said. "The NetZero Chevrolet guys worked really hard, and I feel we're heading in the right direction. This was obviously a big step for us to run that quick, a second-plus what we ran yesterday. It's easy to drive a car when they're right. It's hard to drive a car when they're not right. They made the right changes to the car today, and that allowed me to go fast."

Elliott Sadler was third with a lap of 185.162 mph, marking Sadler's ninth top-10 start this season.

"It was amazing," Sadler commented. "I'm such a lucky guy right now. I feel like our team is hitting on all cylinders. I feel like we are flying under the radar. Nobody is really talking much about us, and we are one of the only teams that has been in the top ten all season. We've been qualifying good all year, and we've been racing good.

"We've had some little problems here and there, but we've been consistently around the top 12 or 13 every single week and that's how you build a championship-type team.

Fourth place was grabbed by Joe Nemechek, who posted a 184.976 mph.

"My Chevy was good," said Nemechek. "It was almost a perfect lap."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. completed the top five with a lap of 184.968 mph. It's a huge bounce back for the No. 8 team, who has been in a slump for the last several races dealing with their injured driver.

"We made some changes to try and get the car tighter coming into the corner, and it really helped," commented Earnhardt. "We were running a lot of race trim yesterday. We really weren't doing any practice qualifying runs until the end yesterday. We were a little off, so we were really glad the guys made the changes they made, and helped the car."

The top six drivers broke the track qualifying record set by Kevin Harvick in 2003 with a lap of 184.343 mph.

Fifty drivers attempted to qualify for forty-three car field. Failing to make the show were Kevin LePage, Hermie Sadler, Morgan Shepard, Greg Sacks, Andy Hillenburg, Geoffrey Bodine, Kirk Shelmerdine.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Ward Burton , Geoffrey Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Casey Mears , Andy Hillenburg , Hermie Sadler , Kirk Shelmerdine , Greg Sacks , Elliott Sadler