Casey Mears, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet Impala SS Event Preview - Martinsville Event/Date: TUMS Fast Relief 500 -- October 25 2009 Venue: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway * This Week's Jack Daniel's Chevrolet for Martinsville Speedway ... Mr.
Casey Mears, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet Impala SS Event Preview - Martinsville
Event/Date: TUMS Fast Relief 500 -- October 25 2009 Venue: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
* This Week's Jack Daniel's Chevrolet for Martinsville Speedway ... Mr. Jack's Crew will unload chassis No. 258 from the Richard Childress Racing stable for the 500-lap race. This Chevrolet Impala SS was raced at Martinsville in April 2009 where it started 25th and finished 21st. Two races later, at Phoenix International Raceway, Mears finished 20th after starting 38th. Since then, it has received an updated front clip and nose.
* Mears in Martinsville ... Through his previous 13 starts at the .526-mile oval, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has earned three top 10s and raced 6,192 of 6,510 (95.1 percent) laps of competition with an average start of 25.5 and a 22.1 average finish. His best start was 12th in April 2004, and best finish was sixth in October 2006. When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series last visited Martinsville in March, Mears qualified 25th and finished in 21st place.
* Mears Moves up Again ... As a result of their seventh-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway last Saturday, Mears & Co. moved up one position, to 18th, in the Sprint Cup Series driver's points standings. Since the Daytona July race, Mears has gained three positions in the overall standings. Through the last five races, Mears has one top-10, four top-15 and five top-20 finishes.
* Through the First 31 races ... The seven-year Sprint Cup veteran has posted four top-10 and 12 top-15 finishes this season. Mears has accumulated an average start of 27.6 to go along with a respectable 19.5 finishing average while completing 8,724 of 8,847 (98.2 percent) laps contested. The 31-year old has led four laps in three different events and been running at the end of every race.
* Vote Greg Cooke for "Wrenchman of the Year"... Jack Daniels Racing's Shop Foreman at RCR, Greg Cooke, is one of eight finalists who has been nominated for the "Wrenchman of the Year" award from Craftsman. To cast your vote for Greg Cooke, click on to www.craftsman.com/wrenchman. Once registered, you can vote once a day until the polls close on Tuesday, October 20.
* RCR at Martinsville ... In 110 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville, RCR has earned three poles and posted six wins between former drivers Ricky Rudd and Dale Earnhardt. Additionally, RCR-prepared Chevrolets have earned 24 top-five and 45 top-10 finishes at Martinsville dating back to April 10, 1972. Richard Childress, a former driver in NASCAR's top division, contributed four of those top 10s from 1976-1978.
* The Collective RCR ... In 31 races this season, RCR's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries have notched nine top-five and 30 top-10 finishes. The No. 29 team kicked off the 2009 season with a win in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. RCR-prepared cars have also completed 34,689 laps with four different drivers including Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Mears. RCR teams have led 188 laps and all four teams have earned just shy of $17 million combined purse money in 2009.
* Come See Casey .... Mears will be at the Jack Daniel's merchandise trailer on Sunday, October 25 to sign autographs and meet fans starting at 10:20 a.m. Tickets are limited and issued on a first-come, first-serve basis at the trailer.
* Mark Your Calendars ... In honor of its 40th anniversary, RCR will host a Fan Day at their Welcome, N.C. complex on Thurs., Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Activities include driver and pit crew autograph sessions, self-guided tours of RCR's Sprint Cup, Nationwide and engine shops, radio remotes, musical entertainment, pit crew competition, viewing of the DALE movie, question-and-answer session with team owner Richard Childress and much more. General admission to RCR's Fan Day is just $5, which will benefit the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.
You've had some pretty decent runs the last few times out at Martinsville. But, for a lot of drivers, it's difficult to get around that track:
"Yeah, it's been good and I feel like I really know how to get around Martinsville now. Getting the car to work well around there is difficult, but once you get it working right it's a lot of fun. The last time we were here, I felt like we had a pretty decent car but we were just a little bit too tight the whole time. I'm sure when we go back this time we'll have that worked out and have a car that we can, hopefully, compete for a win with at Martinsville."
For years, the talk was always about saving your brakes and saving your equipment. With this new car, do you still have to race that way?
"It's something you have to keep in the back of your mind the whole time. It really doesn't have anything to do with the old car vs. the new one. It has more to do with how the brake manufacturers are making their brakes now. When I first started racing at Martinsville, you had to take it easy on your brakes and be careful with them. Now, with the way they're made, you pretty much use your brakes as much as you want and they're making it through a whole race. They've done a good job of making them more reliable and sturdy for a race at Martinsville. The only real difference is the new car is a little heavier than the old one and we have to get our brakes to cool a little better now."
With this new car, can you still bump people like you could in the past and get away with it to gain track position?
"Sometimes, you'll get hit just right and still get your tire flattened. As far as making nose-to-tail contact, you just have to hit a guy a lot harder to move him. With the old car at Martinsville, you could barely put the front of your car under the back of theirs and it would move them out of the way, no problem. Now, with the way the bumpers match up, you can hit someone pretty hard in the center of the corner and it doesn't shake them loose. I think you find guys hitting each other harder to try and move them out of the way."
Pit road is so tight at Martinsville. Is it the most demanding one on the circuit for both crew and driver?
"It's definitely tight and makes it hard to get in out of your pits. Because it's so narrow getting down pit road, you can really get held up by other people quite a bit and lose a lot of time on pit road. When you're exiting your pit stall, people are exiting out in front of you. Or, if you're in 15th place, people are stacking up so much in front of you that you're not even running pit road speed because you're running so slow. That causes you to lose time to the guys in front of you on pit road. It just makes it difficult to be consistent time after time coming down that pit road at Martinsville."