Talladega: Casey Mears race report

Team Target caught in Talladega mayhem. TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 6, 2003) --- Casey Mears, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge, experienced mayhem at Talladega Superspeedway on lap 3 of the Aaron's 499. Mears was caught in "the big one," which was...

Team Target caught in Talladega mayhem.

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 6, 2003) --- Casey Mears, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge, experienced mayhem at Talladega Superspeedway on lap 3 of the Aaron's 499. Mears was caught in "the big one," which was started by a flat tire on Ryan Newman's car, and included approximately 27 cars.

"I guess Ryan (Newman) blew out a left-rear tire," Mears said when he came out of the infield care center. "We just had nowhere to go. I'm just glad it wasn't somebody who got into somebody that caused that thing. I feel bad for Ryan. Everybody else got caught up in it."

"The crash was right in front of me. I slowed down and got hit from the back. We all tried to miss it. I went high, but a bunch of other guys got in it and I couldn't do anything about it. It's always frustrating when you crash. I feel fine. It wasn't a real hard hit."

Following the early accident, Mears visited the infield care center and the Target Dodge was towed to the garage for repairs. While Mears came out with no injures, the #41 Dodge wasn't so lucky. Crew chief Jimmy Elledge ordered his troops around the car for approximately 20 minutes, working to get it back on the track in order to gain a few more positions. Unfortunately, the motor was locked up and the Target Dodge was unable to be repaired.

Although Mears had to take a 40th place finish for the Aaron's 499, he did capture his best qualifying effort of the season. His 11th place starting position was the best of the Ganassi camp and the best Raybestos Rookie time on Friday.

"It's too bad. We had a rough start for the year," Mears said. "We had a good qualifying run in the Target Dodge and felt pretty good about it. We'll have to go back to the shop and work on next weekends race at Martinsville and make up for it there."

Ganassi teammates Sterling Marlin and Jamie McMurray finished sixth and 27th respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, won the race - his fourth straight win at Talladega Superspeedway.

Team Target heads to Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the Virginia 500. The race will be broadcast live on April 13 on FOX television and MRN radio.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Sterling Marlin , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jamie McMurray