Phoenix: Casey Mears preview

Target Team Facts: * Top Five: Casey Mears earned his first top five of the 2005 season in a back-up car at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. His fourth-place finish at the 1.5-mile track ties his career-best finish at...

Target Team Facts:

* Top Five: Casey Mears earned his first top five of the 2005 season in a back-up car at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. His fourth-place finish at the 1.5-mile track ties his career-best finish at Watkins Glen International last year.

* Phoenix: Mears and the No. 41 Target Dodge were running third last fall in Phoenix when a blown tire sent the car into the outside retaining wall with just six laps remaining in the event. The incident relegated Mears to a 34th-place finish.

* Standings: Mears and the No. 41 team made one of their biggest jumps of the season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings after their run at Texas. They leapt from 23rd to 17th in the standings, just 108 points out of the NASCAR Top 10.

* 2004 vs. 2005: Mears and the team feel like they have finally kick-started their 2005 season after last weekend's run. After seven events in 2004, Mears and the Target Team had two top-10 finishes and were sitting 18th in points. This season in as many events, they have accumulated one top five, two top 10s and sit 17th in the standings.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target Team will be taking chassis #502 to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. This is a new chassis for the No. 41 team.

* CGRwFS: Last weekend at Texas, all four Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' NASCAR entries finished in the top five. Reed Sorenson finished third in the NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, then Jamie McMurray, Mears and Sterling Marlin finished second, fourth and fifth respectively on Sunday.

Casey Mears Quotes:

On Phoenix... "It feels great coming off a good run and heading to Phoenix. We had such a fast car in Phoenix last year, and we were on our way to a top-three finish when the tire went down. In 2003 we had an engine failure that ended our day early. So even though I haven't had good finishes in Phoenix, I've had really fast race cars.

"If we can put together another good finish this weekend it will create some momentum heading into Talladega. If we want a shot at the top 10, we need to become more consistent with our finishes. I've said it before, we've had great cars all year just some really bad luck."

On the top five... "I think last weekend's performance is a great indicator on how good this team is. I was so disappointed when I wrecked in practice. But the guys all rallied, prepared a car that I never liked and performed some of the best pit stops we've had this season. I've never been so proud of the Target Team. It was a big race for our entire organization."

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray , Reed Sorenson , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing