Atlanta: Casey Mears preview

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum/Target Team Facts: * New era, new sponsor: A new era in NASCAR sponsorship will be seen this weekend on the No. 41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears. Mears' Dodge...

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge

Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum/Target Team Facts:

* New era, new sponsor: A new era in NASCAR sponsorship will be seen this weekend on the No. 41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears. Mears' Dodge will feature a Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum paint scheme at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Golden Corral 500. Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum, a division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare, is the first quit-smoking product sponsor in the sport of NASCAR.

* Chassis: Crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the team will be taking chassis #114 to Atlanta this weekend. Mears captured his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pole in chassis #114 at Pocono last July. He also piloted this chassis in 2004 at Chicagoland Speedway, Dover International Speedway in September, Lowe's Motor Speedway in October and most recently at Phoenix International Raceway.

* Atlanta Facts: Mears started ninth, led 37 laps and was running eighth when his motor expired 23 laps before the race's end in last year's spring event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. His best finish at the 1.54-mile track was a 13th last fall.

* Standings: Mears and the No. 41 Team jumped 13 spots in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings with their seventh-place finish at Las Vegas. The team currently sits 15th, 41 points out of 10th and 182 points behind leader Kurt Busch.

Casey Mears Quotes:

On Atlanta..."I love the tracks like Atlanta," said Mears. "I would consider it one of my favorites. I love the speed that you carry and the fact that you're racing on the edge every lap. We ran well last year at Atlanta so I am extremely excited about going back, especially since we can try and build on our finish last weekend.

"Last year in this race it was the first time I legitimately led a Cup race and we would have had a great finish but we lost a motor. I can't wait to get back there. I think we have a good handle on the Dodge Charger and we proved that last weekend in Las Vegas."

On sponsor Nicorette..."I'm really proud to have a sponsor like Nicorette on my car this weekend," said Mears. "The green Nicorette Fresh Mint Gum Dodge will turn some heads and really make people think about where this sport is going. I think what Nicorette is trying to do for the NASCAR fan is great. They are setting up a display called 'Winner's Circle' that will have all the information someone needs to quit smoking and there are counselors to help people get started. That is a huge commitment to this team and to the fans of NASCAR."

On last week's top 10... "We had a really good day at Las Vegas," said Mears. "We got in a crash at Daytona, and at California we got paper on the grille, so luck hasn't been on our side. Fortunately at Vegas we had a really good car. Happy Hour was kind of disappointing and we were a little worried going into the race, but we made some changes that really helped the car out. We were fast right out of the gate and ran good all day long. We had trouble with pit stops a little bit and that got us back there a little ways, but the guys gathered it back up the second half of the race and we had good pit stops and got a top-10 finish. We really needed that after the last two races. It was a good gain in the points. We're definitely in position now to start making a run at the top 10 in points."

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Casey Mears