Daytona Twin 125: Casey Mears race report

Mears races his way into the Daytona 500. Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 13, 2003) --- Casey Mears held it wide open on the last lap of the Gatorade 125 qualifying race and barely finished 15th to make the field for his first career Daytona ...

Mears races his way into the Daytona 500.

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 13, 2003) --- Casey Mears held it wide open on the last lap of the Gatorade 125 qualifying race and barely finished 15th to make the field for his first career Daytona 500.

"We were hurting there at the end," Mears said.  "We weren't sure if we were
going to make it in.  We just made it happen on the last lap.  I wasn't
going to lift.  We had to make it in so I held it wide open."

Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate, Mears, started the race in 12th position. He raced up front for the first part of the 50-lap race, until he couldn't find any drafting help.

"I couldn't get anyone to help me out there," Mears said. "We were in good position there at the beginning and I think it was Kenny Wallace who pulled in the inside of me and everybody just dumped me to the back. It was like 'Well, you've got those yellow stripes on the back so here you go.' I just need to make it through the Daytona 500 and earn some respect from these guys and make them feel comfortable with me."

Mears will start 29th in his first career Daytona 500 on Sunday but he feels that his Target Dodge needs some work before then.

"We've got some work to do for Sunday," Mears said. "If the car handles the way it did in the 125s, I'm not too optimistic. The car was not working that well in the 125s. It was real tight in the center off and loose getting in to the corner to the center. But if we can get it working better I know we'll be good. Staying out of trouble on Sunday is the biggest thing."

Mears and Team Target will start 29th in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 16. The race will be broadcast live on FOX television and MRN radio.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kenny Wallace , Casey Mears