Team Target cars have rough day at the road course SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2003) --- Team Target drivers Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge) and Scott Pruett (No. 09 Target Dodge) didn't quite have the day they expected at Infineon Raceway on ...
Team Target cars have rough day at the road course
SONOMA, Calif. (June 22, 2003) --- Team Target drivers Casey Mears (No. 41 Target Dodge) and Scott Pruett (No. 09 Target Dodge) didn't quite have the day they expected at Infineon Raceway on Sunday.
Road-course specialist, Pruett qualified 18th for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 - best of the Ganassi drivers. Pruett was steadily moving up through the pack to the lead when he was sandwiched by the No. 99 and No. 97 cars in Turn 7 and spun out. Pruett was in sixth place at the time and fell back to 18th during the incident. Damage to the rear of the car brought the No. 09 Target Dodge into the pits on two occasions for repair - forcing Pruett to finish the race a lap down in 34th place.
"We had a great car today, it's just unfortunate that someone else took our chance at winning," Pruett said. "I have to thank Chip Ganassi and Andy Graves for giving me the opportunity to run this weekend. This Target team put together a great car for me - one that could win. I'm disappointed in the finish but I'm impressed by this race team."
Meanwhile, Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Casey Mears competed in his first Winston Cup road course race today. Mears has a good background racing open-wheel cars on road courses but a stock car took a different approach.
Mears struggled in practice during the weekend and qualified 33rd for Sunday's race. Although Mears lost position at the start of the race, halfway through he radioed in to crew chief Jimmy Elledge stating "I feel like I've learned enough to keep track position out here." Team Target elected not to pit during a late caution and gained 10 spots on the field. Mears went on to finish his first Winston Cup road course race in 26th place. Mears moved up to 36th in championship points.
"It wasn't too bad, considering the kind of rough qualifying that we had," Mears said. "This place is tough, no doubt. It's something that I definitely have a little bit to learn here. I think our third run out there we were really good. The car was really good and then the track sickened up on us a little bit. I think we had a little too much rear spring in it so I know coming back here I'll know a little bit better what to do."
"I was trying to stay out of trouble as best I could but I got into a couple of guys. Other than that, I feel pretty good about it. We got a finish, gained us some spots in the points, I think. We keep trucking along and we'll get better and better."
Ganassi teammates Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray finished 18th and 20th respectively.
Casey Mears and Team Target head to Daytona International Speedway next weekend for the Pepsi 400 on July 5th.