Bliss paces Texas Happy Hour

Mike Bliss paced final practice for Nextel Cup teams at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 188.180 mph. Bliss, driving the No. 49 Dodge, will take the green flag from the 22nd starting spot on Sunday. Casey Mears was second quickest after...

Mike Bliss paced final practice for Nextel Cup teams at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 188.180 mph. Bliss, driving the No. 49 Dodge, will take the green flag from the 22nd starting spot on Sunday.

Casey Mears was second quickest after posting a lap of 187.990 mph.

"Over these final three races, my goal is still to get the Texaco/Havoline Dodge in victory lane and on a pole," said Mears who will depart Ganassi for Hendrick Motorsports in 2007. "We know realistically we can't get to 11th, but there is still a chance we can get up to 13th in points. We have a heck of a battle going for 14th, but I'd like to get the best finishing position we can. The last three tracks are strong tracks for me and the organization, so hopefully we can win a race and work on that 13th spot."

Chasers Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Jeff Burton complete the top five times.

"I really believe we still have a chance without us having to do miraculous things," said Burton of his championship possibilities. "Obviously, we are going to have to have a little help. But the way things are going this year and in this Chase, I wouldn't be surprised if we got a little help. My focus is on doing a good job so if we do get some help we can take advantage. The way you do that is to run well."

Mark Martin and Tony Raines got into each other late in the practice session. The No. 6 Roush Ford sustained heavy right front damage forcing the team to switch to their back-up car. Raines had cosmetic damage on the No. 96 car, but the team decided to fix it rather than change cars.

Martin will start from the rear of the field on Sunday. He will be joined there by David Stremme who crashed in morning practice for the Dickies 500 and also had to pull out a back-up car.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Casey Mears , Tony Raines , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Mike Bliss , David Stremme , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports