Pocono: Casey Mears race report

Target Team Posts Top-10 Finish at Pocono Long Pond, Pa. (June 13, 2004) --- The Target Team captured its sixth top-10 finish of the season this weekend at Pocono, when Casey Mears piloted the No. 41 to a 10th-place finish in the Pocono ...

Target Team Posts Top-10 Finish at Pocono

Long Pond, Pa. (June 13, 2004) --- The Target Team captured its sixth top-10 finish of the season this weekend at Pocono, when Casey Mears piloted the No. 41 to a 10th-place finish in the Pocono 500.

Track position was the key element in the 200-lap race. Mears was unable to move into the top 20 for the first 50 laps of the race. When the caution waved on lap 50, Mears brought the Target Dodge down pit road for a trackbar adjustment, an air pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel. Racing resumed on lap 54 with Mears in 22nd. The caution flag waved six laps later and crew chief Jimmy Elledge made the call to keep Mears on the track while several cars pitted.

Mears was 10th for the restart on lap 66. The Target Dodge would begin a run loose, but would tighten up as the run continued. Green-flag stops began on lap 85, and Mears brought the car in for an air pressure adjustment, fresh tires and fuel on lap 91.

The team was sitting 10th at the halfway point of the race and the Target Dodge was turning some quick lap times. When the caution waved on lap 112, Mears had worked his way up to eighth. He brought the car down pit road for service and restarted in 10th on lap 117. There was a long caution on lap 120. While several cars came down pit road to top off their fuel, Mears remained on the track.

Racing resumed on lap 131 with the Target Dodge sitting fifth. Mears dove under the No. 88 and No. 9 cars on lap 134 to take over the third spot. The No. 41 Dodge was still a little loose, so when the caution came out on lap 154, the team made another air pressure adjustment on the fresh tires. The team knew they were going to be short a few laps on fuel, so Mears brought the car down pit road on lap 161 to top off the fuel.

The green flag waved on lap 162 with Mears back in 17th. By the time the caution fell on lap 167, he had battled his way back up to 12th. Several cars needed to come down pit road for fuel, so when racing resumed Mears was eighth. He battled side-by-side with the No. 12 car when it got into the side of Mears. He was able to hold on, but lost two spots.

Although Mears was quicker than several cars in front of him, he was unable to make up any ground over the final 20 laps of the race that were marred with cautions. He collected his sixth top 10 of the season, and fourth in this chassis.

"I feel like we had a good top-five car, at least sixth or seventh, but we just didn't get any race laps at the end," said Mears. "If we could have got in a few more green flag laps I think we could have passed a few more cars. We'd get a couple of laps and the caution would come out. The car was really good. Every time we'd get going we'd have to stop. It took us a couple of laps to get going. Three laps in we were really good. These top 10s are nice, but we're looking for some top fives."

Mears gained one spot in the championship standings and currently sixth 16th, 150 points out of the top 10.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears