Target Dodge finishes 28th in a wild Dover race Dover, Del. (June 6, 2004) --- Casey Mears and the Target Team believed they had a top-five car for the MNBA 400 on Sunday, but their day went awry on lap 12. The team ended the day in 28th after...
Target Dodge finishes 28th in a wild Dover race
Dover, Del. (June 6, 2004) --- Casey Mears and the Target Team believed they had a top-five car for the MNBA 400 on Sunday, but their day went awry on lap 12. The team ended the day in 28th after a wild race and several multi-car incidents that left only 28 cars running at the conclusion of the race.
Mears started the event 17th after qualifying and finished third quick in the final practice on Saturday. The Target Dodge was 13th by lap five and working its way to the front. Unfortunately, the car spun out on lap 12 when Mears got under teammate Jamie McMurray and the two made contact sending Mears into the inside retaining wall.
"Jamie was hung out high, and I was just following the inside line to go by him," said Mears. "I'll have to review the tape, but it is just disappointing because we had a real good car."
Mears brought the car to the garage for repairs. The Target Team worked feverishly to repair the heavily damaged car. He returned to the track on lap 41 and was running in 41st position, 31 laps down.
Mears brought the No. 41 down pit road for four tires and fuel on lap 88. He gained a few spots as cars began to drop out of the race. The caution waved on lap 107 and he came back down pit road for further adjustments. With several cars behind the wall, the Target Dodge was sitting 35th at the halfway point of the race.
Green-flag stops began on lap 319 when the No. 12 car spun on pit road. NASCAR red flagged the race while they were trying to sort out the scoring. Racing resumed for just a few laps when on lap 346, a 17-car pile up brought out the caution yet again. The Target Dodge suffered front end damage as the entire track was blocked in the melee. NASCAR brought out the red flag for the second time that day.
Mears brought the car down pit road to have the front end repaired enough to send him back out on the track to try and gain a few spots. The team lost one spot while fixing the damage, but took the green flag on lap 354. Mears told the team he thought he had a tire going flat as the car was beginning to smoke. He stayed at the top of the track until he could pit. He learned a lap later that he was dropping oil on the track but didn't realize it because the motor was still running. The leader ran through the oil and spun bringing out the final caution on lap 383. The team repaired the oil line and Mears was able to finish the race.
The 28th-place finish dropped Mears one spot in the championship standings to 17th. His teammates Jamie McMurray and Sterling Marlin finished 15th and 29th respectively.
The Target Team heads to Pocono Raceway next weekend for the Pocono 500.