BUSCH: Casey Mears takes first Busch pole in Chicago

Casey Mears driving the No. 19 Braun Dodge scored his first career Busch series pole at the 1.5-mile oval in Chicago. Mears clipped off at a lap of 181.757 mph to secure the top spot. "It was just a good lap. It was a little bit tight. It felt...

Casey Mears driving the No. 19 Braun Dodge scored his first career Busch series pole at the 1.5-mile oval in Chicago. Mears clipped off at a lap of 181.757 mph to secure the top spot.

"It was just a good lap. It was a little bit tight. It felt real good, I'm real excited about it, my first Busch pole," said Mears.

Mears, who drives the No. 41 Dodge full time for Ganassi racing in the Winston Cup series, has been garnering seat time in several different series to compliment his driving abilities. Mears began driving for the No. 19 Braun Dodge team after Chad Blount asked for his release when the team was experiencing sponsor woes. Mears has also thrown his hat into the ARCA ring this season, racing the No. 77 Dodge for Ganassi.

Defending race winner Johnny Sauter piloting the No. 21 RCR Chevy rolls off second, he posted a lap of 181.616 mph.

"It would have been pretty cool to get the pole here," said Sauter. "We won the race last year. It doesn't matter where you start, it's where you finish. We'll just race our ass off tomorrow."

The No. 25 Ford team of Bobby Hamilton, Jr. starts third, with Winston Cup regulars Dave Blaney and Michael Waltrip round out the top five.

Gus Wasson in the No. 96 Pontiac was involved in a hard one car accident during morning practice. He was transported by ground to Provena-St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet where he was examined and released. He did not take the green flag to attempt to qualify, and will start 42nd.

Stanton Barrett, the Hollywood stuntman, who lost his ride with Roush Racing earlier this season, made his return to the series driving the self owned No. 91 Pontiac. He qualified 32nd.

Joey Clanton will be the highest starting rookie Saturday, taking the green flag from the 23rd starting spot.

"We're definitely happy with that," said Clanton. "We've been struggling big time on our qualifying all year trying to learn these cars. We came here off our run in Daytona last week and Milwaukee the week before and just got a big confidence boost. It really does play a big role coming into an event like this."

The skies opened up and Mother Nature yawed rain shortly after the conclusion of Busch Series qualifying. Track announcers ordered fans out of the grandstands due to severe weather in the greater Joliet area. The heavy downpour delays Winston Cup qualifying which was set to kick off at 3:05 p.m.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Michael Waltrip , Casey Mears , Chad Blount , Johnny Sauter , Stanton Barrett , Joey Clanton , Gus Wasson , Dave Blaney