Casey Mears ...
#66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard
Honda Grand Prix of Monterey - Race Notes/Quotes - Sunday, Oct. 14, 2001
Laguna Seca Raceway - Monterey, Calif. - 2.238-Mile Road Course
Round 19 of 21 on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series
Casey Mears and the #66 Pioneer-WorldCom/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished 11th in today's Honda Grand Prix of Monterey, scoring two championship points for Mo Nunn Racing in only his second race since coming on board to replace the injured Alex Zanardi. Mears started 18th and held that position for the early stages of the race. He was tagged from behind by Bryan Herta on Lap 10, spun into the Turn 11 runoff, and had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a new set of tires. Mears moved up to 13th when several cars ahead of him pitted out of sequence on Lap 33. He dropped just one position when he pitted for the second time under yellow on Lap 49, and held that position despite coming in on Lap 51 for enough fuel to go the distance. Mears moved up two more positions, to 11th, when Oriol Servia and Mauricio Gugelmin, who were running just ahead of him, were involved in a two-car accident. Servia, whose car cartwheeled high in the air and into the Turn 3 runoff, was not seriously injured.
Mo Nunn Racing teammate Tony Kanaan and the #55 Hollywood/Mo Nunn Racing Honda-Reynard finished eighth today after starting sixth. Max Papis and Memo Gidley, who ran an alternative fuel strategy, finished 1-2 and beat polesitter and current series points leader Gil de Ferran across the finish line. De Ferran's finish clinched the CART manufacturers championship for Honda today with two races remaining.
The next stop on the tour is in two weeks for the Honda Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise, Australia, round 20 of 21 on the 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series.
"I guess that was another huge learning experience. I had problems with my first two sets of tires. I was caught by surprise by the amount of understeer I had, as well as exit oversteer, so I made some mistakes early on that cost me some positions. Nonetheless, I brought the car home and got us a couple of points. We keep chipping away at it. We qualified a lot better than we did last weekend (at Houston, where Mears started 25th). I didn't have the kind of race I wanted. But I guess it's a good sign that we leave here feeling hungry. We're moving up little by little, but we know we still have a lot to learn."