CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Casey Mears race notes

Casey Mears and the ...

Casey Mears and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished 17th in today's Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston. Mears made his second-ever Champ Car start - and first on a temporary street course - from the 25th spot on the grid and moved up gradually as today's 100-lap event unfolded. It was the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom entry's first start since this year's regular driver Alex Zanardi was involved in a racing accident during the American Memorial 500 in Germany three weekends ago. Mears, 23, is the nephew of three-time CART champion Rick Mears.

Mo Nunn Racing teammate Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard started 10th and finished 12th today. Polesitter Gil de Ferran won for the second race in a row today and took over the points lead from Kenny Brack. He easily outdistanced runner-up Dario Franchitti, with Memo Gidley taking third.

The next race on the CART FedEx Championship Series schedule is next weekend 's Round 19, the Shell 300 at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey, Calif.

Casey Mears
"That was an education. We got the whole race in, which was one of our more modest goals, and I've got to say that I learned a ton. We brought the car home with no dings all weekend, and I ran with a lot of guys who were in my pack. I even ran lap times comparable with a lot of the guys running mid-pack. The hardest thing to deal with, I must say, was figuring out exactly what I was supposed to do when I saw the blue ('move over') flag. It didn't happen very often today, but I've never really had to deal with that before. Hopefully, the farther along we go, I won't be seeing any of those blue flags! I'm thankful as can be to the whole team for being so patient with me all weekend long, and for giving me this opportunity, to begin with. We're leaving here on a positive note, I think. And we'll be ready to really give it a go at Laguna."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Casey Mears , Gil de Ferran , Memo Gidley , Dario Franchitti , Alex Zanardi , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Rick Mears , Mo Nunn