Fontana II: Casey Mears preview

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge Target Team Facts: * Surfs Up: Casey Mears will be hitting the waves of the Pacific Ocean with professional surfer Pat O'Connell while in California. O'Connell, the star of the movie "Endless Summer II,"...

Casey Mears and No. 41 Target Dodge

Target Team Facts:

* Surfs Up: Casey Mears will be hitting the waves of the Pacific Ocean with professional surfer Pat O'Connell while in California. O'Connell, the star of the movie "Endless Summer II," will be giving Mears surfing lessons at the Huntington Beach Pier on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Later that afternoon, O'Connell will be switching gears by receiving a ride-a-long at California Speedway.

* California Speedway: Mears has driven in four different series in two styles of cars at California Speedway. He has raced in CART, Indy Lights, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series cars at what he considers his home track in Fontana. His best NEXTEL Cup finish at the 2-mile track is eighth in May of last year. In February, Mears had one of the quickest cars on the track, but debris on the grill forced him down pit road and he fell one-lap down to the leaders.

* California Natives: Mears, crew chief Jimmy Elledge and shock specialist Roger Parkinson all hail from the Golden State. Mears grew up north of Los Angeles in Bakersfield, Elledge was born in Redding and Parkinson is originally from San Diego.

* Chassis: The team's favorite chassis, #206, will return after just a one week respite for the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. This chassis will be making its sixth appearance this season. Mears drove this chassis to a sixth-place finish at Indianapolis, a ninth-place finish at Chicagoland and most recently ran it at Michigan on Aug. 21.

* Standings: Mears and the Target team lost two spots in the championship standings after an early incident relegated the team to a 34th-place finish at Bristol. The team now sits 25 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings.

Casey Mears Quote:

Heading home... "I always look forward to going to California," said Mears. "My grandparents and family come out to the race, and it adds a little extra incentive for me to do well. I'm also going to learn how to surf on Thursday, so that should be fun."

California Speedway... "The Target Dodge was really quick after about 10 or 15 laps in February. We fell a lap down after paper got stuck on the grill, but if we could have gotten our lap back we were going to finish in the top 10. The team made great adjustments on the car and were quick in the pits. That was the second race in a row at California Speedway where we had trouble with debris. The good thing is that California has been one of our strongest tracks and we are taking our best car out there."

-cgr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears