Casey Mears earns first Shootout sport

Casey Mears Earns His First Budweiser Shootout Starting Spot DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Aug. 2, 2004) -- Casey Mears won his first career Budweiser Pole in last weekend's Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and earned his...

Casey Mears Earns His First Budweiser Shootout Starting Spot

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Aug. 2, 2004) -- Casey Mears won his first career Budweiser Pole in last weekend's Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and earned his first starting berth in next year's Budweiser Shootout at historic Daytona International Speedway.

Mears, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, lapped the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway in 52.411 seconds at 171.720 mph to become the 19th driver to qualify for the Budweiser Shootout.

Mears becomes the fourth driver this season to earn his first-ever starting berth in next year's Budweiser Shootout, a non-points All-Star race held under the lights that features the previous season's Budweiser Pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions.

Other drivers who won their first career poles in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and are slated to make their first start in the Saturday night, Feb. 12 Budweiser Shootout are Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers.

"It's just so awesome," Mears said of his first career pole in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 56 starts. "It's never happened before, so I don't know exactly how I feel."

Other drivers that have won pole positions this season and are qualified for next year's Budweiser Shootout are Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Bobby Labonte, Ricky Rudd, Jimmie Johnson and Jeremy Mayfield.

Past Budweiser Shootout champions eligible are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Ken Schrader, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Geoffrey Bodine.

Tickets for Speedweeks 2005 and the 47th annual Daytona 500 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

2005 Budweiser Shootout Lineup

Casey Mears is among the 10 drivers who have qualified for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout by winning a pole this season:

* Casey Mears
* Greg Biffle
* Kasey Kahne
* Brian Vickers
* Ryan Newman
* Bobby Labonte
* Ricky Rudd
* Jimmie Johnson
* Jeremy Mayfield
* Jeff Gordon

Past Budweiser Shootout champions eligible:
* Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Tony Stewart
* Dale Jarrett
* Mark Martin
* Rusty Wallace
* Ken Schrader
* Bill Elliott
* Terry Labonte
* Geoffrey Bodine

-dis-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Geoffrey Bodine , Ken Schrader , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Chip Ganassi , Mark Martin
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing