Michigan: Casey Mears race report

Target Team Finishes 31st at Michigan Brooklyn, Mich. (June 21, 2004) --- The Target Team had to settle for a 31st-place finish at Michigan International Speedway despite having one of the quickest cars on the track all day. Mechanical...

Target Team Finishes 31st at Michigan

Brooklyn, Mich. (June 21, 2004) --- The Target Team had to settle for a 31st-place finish at Michigan International Speedway despite having one of the quickest cars on the track all day. Mechanical failure on lap 43 brought the Target Dodge to pit road for nine laps.

Casey Mears started the DHL 400 in ninth place after a solid qualifying effort on Friday. He had worked his way up to sixth when the first caution waved on lap 32. He told crew chief Jimmy Elledge the No. 41 was tight, so the team made an air pressure adjustment on his fresh Goodyears and filled the car with fuel.

Racing resumed on lap 38 with the Target Dodge running in eighth. Mears radioed Elledge on lap 43 and said he had a tire go flat. He brought the car down pit road for new tires, but the team soon realized the tires were fine and something had broke in the front end of the car. Mears came back down pit road to have part of the front suspension repaired. It took the team just nine laps to get the car fixed and back out on the track.

The Target Dodge was sitting 39th when it returned to the field on lap 57. Mears continued to run some of the quickest laps on the track and stayed with the front runners for the remaining 143 laps of the race. Several cars lost their motors in the second half of the race and the Target Team was able to gain eight spots before the race ended.

"It is extremely tough to be that quick and know there is nothing you can do about it," said Mears. "NASCAR asked us to stay out of the way of the leaders and it was frustrating knowing you have to let them by when you are quicker than them. We proved once again that we are capable of running up front and being extremely competitive. I'm proud of the guys and disappointed for them, they prepared a great car for Michigan."

Mears' teammate Sterling Marlin led 45 laps in the DHL 400 and finished sixth, while Jamie McMurray lost a motor to finish 37th.

Mears lost one spot in the championship standings and currently sits 17th, 253 points out of the top 10. Last year at this time the team was 36th in points following Michigan.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray