Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS, answered questions at Michigan International Speedway regarding Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports, his personal relationship with Dale, Jr. and racing at MIS: ON DALE ...
Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS, answered questions at Michigan International Speedway regarding Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports, his personal relationship with Dale, Jr. and racing at MIS:
ON DALE EARNHARDT, JR. JOINING HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS: "I think it's going to be cool. Dale and I have been pretty good friends for quite a while now. I got to know him fairly early when I moved back to North Carolina and I'm excited about him being on our side of the shop. Obviously we're a four-car team and share all information very closely but it's going to be nice having him at our shop and working together; I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
WHAT DO YOU THINK CAN BE LEARNED FROM HIM? "I'm going to find out. I'm going to find out when we're teammates. That's stuff that will be a guess right now until we start getting more involved in getting to know each other a little bit more. We know each other on a friendship side but not on the technical side and what he likes out of a race car. I think the combination of knowing what he's learned at a different team and bringing that to our company and having the chance to sit down and talk about it, those are the things I'll have answers for after he's actually here. Right now, all I know is that I'm excited about having him because he's a good friend and obviously brings some more talent to the table."
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW HIM ON A PERSONAL LEVEL? "I've been back in North Carolina now for almost six years and met him fairly early on. We hung out quite a bit at his place quite a few times and had a good time, just around the lake and having fun outside the track. We're not the closest of friends since he's got best friends and stuff but I think over the course of the last few years I've gotten to know him pretty well and I think that the background he grew up in and being around the sport, he obviously knows and understands a lot about it. He's given me some good advice early on when I was a rookie and struggling. He's just a good guy, good friend. I'm looking forward to working with him."
ON YOUR UPSWING AND EXPECTATIONS FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON: "I think that probably the last five races or so we've really been hitting our stride and running really well. Going into Darlington had a really good run going and had an issue with the radiator plugging up and losing the engine. I think that probably about six races ago I really feel like our team started to come together. Just getting to know everybody, Darian and I getting to know each other and the whole team's attitude being very positive knowing that we can go forward and to get that win at the Coca-Cola 600 was definitely a huge confidence builder for everybody. It probably took a lot of pressure off of all of us, really. We've won and now we can just focus on how to do it again instead of having that hanging over our head that we're the only team within Hendrick Motorsports that hasn't won. I think that it relieved some of that pressure and allows us to focus and do our job and to come back at Dover, we qualified very badly but we rallied back to get a 13th, which was good in the points. Then last week to end up fourth, I think we just keep gaining and to stay on this path, it's a very outside shot but we've got a shot of still making the Chase. Our goal is to just keep rallying off some top fives and top 10s all the way up until the Chase and then hopefully be within striking distance with a couple to go."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON MIS: "I love this place. Michigan has always been a good track for me ever since I ran Indy Lights here. I got two or three second-place finishes here in Indy Lights and I always seemed to be running inside the top five typically here whether it's in a Busch car or Cup car here. Haven't always finished there but we've always had cars that are competitive and able to be there. I think now with the path we've been on, all that we've learned the last few weeks, and bringing our Charlotte car back to here, I know I've got a good race car. The thing I like about it too is it gives you a lot of options. People start running the top or the bottom, run the middle, whatever. However your car is handling it gives you options to go in other areas to make your car work.
"Being this close to Detroit, Chevrolet is obviously really big out here so it would be fun to win this one for sure."
-credit: gm racing