Solid day for Mears at New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H. (July 20, 2003) --- It was not the best finish for Team Target this season, but Casey Mears' 16th place finish in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday was the ...
Solid day for Mears at New Hampshire
LOUDON, N.H. (July 20, 2003) --- It was not the best finish for Team Target this season, but Casey Mears' 16th place finish in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday was the team's first solid race with no mistakes.
"We finally had a good day," crew chief Jimmy Elledge said after the race. "We had a day where our car wasn't good in 'Happy Hour' and we were kind of concerned about it and really didn't expect to even run nowhere near that good. We made a lot of changes this morning and engineers and everybody did a good job on the fuel mileage. We made a plan and kind of stuck with it. It's a good way to get the second half started. We didn't feel like we'd run that good so that's even a bonus."
Mears started the New England 300 in 35th position due to qualifying rainout on Friday afternoon. At the start of the race, Mears' Target Dodge was very tight in the corners. Team Target continued to make adjustments on the car during pit stops and the car finally started to come around to Mears during the second half of the race.
One of Mears' biggest challenges of the day came on lap 228, when he was racing with Tony Stewart for 25th position. Stewart took the inside line and pushed Mears out of the way sending his Target Dodge high up the track and dropping him back to 31st position. Mears showed great focus as he raced his way up to a 16th place finish within those remaining 72 laps. Mears currently sits in 34th position in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship points race and third in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year race.
"It was our first good solid race this season," Mears said. "This is a good way to get the second half of the season going. I'm looking forward to going back to these places for a second time. I can't thank the guys and Jimmy Elledge enough. They made some great calls in the pits today and kept me in good positions on the track all day."
Team Target races at Pocono Raceway next weekend. Casey Mears will race in two ARCA races as well as the Winston Cup race on Sunday for a total of 900 miles. The Pennsylvania 500 will be broadcast live on TNT television and MRN radio on Sunday, July 27th.