Phoenix II: Casey Mears preview

* This Week's Jack Daniel's Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Casey Mears will race Chassis No. 258 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This is the same car Mears raced to 21st and...

* This Week's Jack Daniel's Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Casey Mears will race Chassis No. 258 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This is the same car Mears raced to 21st and 18th-place finishes at Martinsville Speedway in April and October, respectively. This is the same Chevrolet Impala SS Mears drove at PIR earlier this year, where he finished 20th.

* Phoenix Facts ... In 11 Sprint Cup Series starts at PIR, Mears has an average starting position of 19.9 and a 27.3 finishing average. His best start was seventh in October 2004 with a best finish of 11th in March 2008. The Bakersfield, Calif. native has completed 3,116 of 3,436 (90.7 percent) of laps contested.

* Up to Date Data ... Mears currently sits 20th in the NSCS points standings, trailing 19th place by 29 markers with two races remaining in the 2009 season. Through 34 starts this year, the 31-year old driver has four top-10 finishes, has completed 9,748 of 9,913 laps (98.3 percent) of laps contested and been running at the end of every race.

* RCR at PIR ... In 58 races at Phoenix, RCR has earned three wins, including Harvick's sweep of both races at PIR in 2006. Prior to that, Dale Earnhardt won the Checker 500 in November 1990. Additionally, the Welcome, N.C.-based organization boasts 11 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes at the one-mile desert-oval. Childress is tied with Robert Yates for number of car owner victories with three each.

* Sort of Home ... Mears, along with his fiancee Trish Grablander and their daughter Samantha, went directly from Ft. Worth to Phoenix to spend time with friends and family.Phoenix is where they met and started the romance that will lead up to their January 2010 wedding.

* Come See Casey ... Mears will appear at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m., which is located at 1065 N. Dobson; Mesa, AZ 85201. On Sunday, Nov. 15, he will stop by the Jack Daniel's souvenir trailer starting at 10:30 a.m. to sign autographs and greet fans. A limited number of tickets will be available for autographs on a first come, first served basis.

CASEY MEARS:

In looking at the statistics for this track, this one has been pretty tough on you, why?

"You know what's crazy is that Phoenix has been a really good one for me, performance wise, but it just hasn't show up on paper. The one year when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won, we were running second with about 10 laps to go. A caution came out and I started to get a flat left-rear tire and we ended up crashing with the tire going down under green. I've run up front there, had a great car two times and didn't end up with the right results. I've just been in the wrong place at the wrong time to get caught up in things, too. I'm actually really excited about going to Phoenix. It's a place I've run well at, just haven't had the end results to prove it. "

At this time of year, the sun can be pretty brutal as you race towards Turn 1. Do you have problems with that aspect?

"Yeah, it does. The sun has always kind of been an issue at Phoenix. I know they've added some grandstands and structures to try and help defer some of the sunlight that comes right in your eyes. It has kind of helped, but you just try and run the tape a little further down the windshield and do the best you can. The hard thing is, as you're going toward the sun, you can't see into the shaded area because all you see is black. When you go from the sun to the shade, then you can see into the rest of the corner. You really have to rely on your spotter to get you through that area and look ahead for you."

The in-car camera view seems to show that you can't see anything. How do you handle getting through that area of the track?

"You have to use reference points on the side of the wall before you turn going into Turn 1. When you get to those points, you can kind of count to one then two, then kind of turn in and wait until you get into the shady part so you can see again. You just have to get a rhythm and work with your spotter to get through there. And, as the sun sets and moves, the sun-to-shade part keeps changing, too. "

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Casey Mears , Robert Yates
Teams Richard Childress Racing