Atlanta: Casey Mears preview

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge Target Team Facts: * Top 10: Mears' seventh-place effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was his first career top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. His previous best finish was 14th at...

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge

Target Team Facts:

* Top 10: Mears' seventh-place effort at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was his first career top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. His previous best finish was 14th at Daytona in the 2004 season opener.

* Target Team: The two top-15 finishes this season by the Target Team has launched Mears into the NASCAR Top 10 for the first time in his career. He currently sits 10th, 156 points behind leader and 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth.

* Atlanta Facts: Casey Mears is looking to carry the momentum from Las Vegas to Atlanta this weekend and improve on his best finish of 23rd at the 1.54-mile track.

* Happy Birthday: Mears will be celebrating his 26th birthday on Friday, March 12.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the Target Team are bringing chassis #308 to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The team previously ran this car in 2003 at the Charlotte, Michigan, Pocono and Kansas races. Mears qualified the car 10th at Pocono and piloted it to a 20th-place finish at Michigan.

Casey Mears Quotes:

Achieving his first top 10... "Going into Atlanta I feel better than I have ever felt," said Mears. "Last weekend was a huge confidence builder for this team. It was a lot of fun to see everything come together from the body's and the motors to my relationship with Jimmy (Elledge) and the entire Target team. We proved that we have great cars and a competitive team. Finishing seventh isn't a win, but it feels pretty close. Now that I have my first top 10, I am setting my sights on a top five and that first trip to victory lane.

"I don't know if there was ever a great turning point for this team, but the off-season has been so important to our success. I needed that time to reflect on the past year and realize that we had flashes of competitiveness and once everything came together we were going to be good. The cars are better, the motors are better and the attitudes on the team are better, that has made a huge difference."

On Atlanta..."I really enjoy racing at Atlanta even though our finishes may not show it. Last fall we were running so well on Sunday and we were coming up through the field. Unfortunately, it rained and the race was postponed until Monday and the car never handled the same. We also ran well at Charlotte until we blew a motor. So I know I can be competitive at tracks like Atlanta."

-cgr-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Casey Mears