Darlington Raceway CHARLOTTE, N.C.--- Darlington Raceway and Mears are two great names rich in racing history and still a very active part of the racing scene today. These two great names will officially become acquainted with one another...
CHARLOTTE, N.C.--- Darlington Raceway and Mears are two great names rich in racing history and still a very active part of the racing scene today. These two great names will officially become acquainted with one another during the running of the Darlington Raceway.com 200 Busch Series race on March 16.
Casey Mears, driver of the No. 66 Phillips 66 Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division, has never raced at the track "Too Tough To Tame." Mears did, however, test at the track for two days early in March.
"Darlington is a blast," said Mears. "It's not your typical oval track, that's for sure. The great thing about Darlington is that turns one and two are different from turns three and four. Before we tested, I played a NASCAR racing game on my X-Box computer at home to get a feel for the track layout. After making some laps there for real, I have to admit the actual track is a lot more fun."
Darlington Raceway is rich in racing history just like the Mears family. Casey Mears is the youngest member of the well renowned "Mears Gang," and the only member to venture into stock car racing. Mears is the son of off-road racing great Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.
While Darlington Raceway had already made a name for itself in racing when the "Mears Gang" was formed, during the late 1960s in southern California.
"It all started when my dad and uncle were racing at Ascott Park Speedway in southern California," said the youngest Mears. "They were coming down from Bakersfield, Calif., and winning a lot of races at the track. Pretty soon everybody at the track started calling them the "Mears Gang" and the name has stuck ever since. Today, the entire Mears family is considered to be a part of the "Mears Gang," even those that do not actually race."
With only four Busch Series races under his belt, the rookie Mears understands that respect from his peers has to be earned and that he must respect the "Lady In Black".
"The groove itself is narrow and there's no time to relax while making a lap around Darlington," said Mears. "You need to be on your toes at all times. Obviously, they don't talk about the Darlington stripe for nothing. I'm sure that everybody probably clips the fence at least once while racing there, and maybe more than that."
The youngest member of the "Mears Gang" hopes the only stripe he leaves Darlington with is the yellow stripe on his back bumper, mandated by NASCAR for all rookies. Mears would relish the opportunity to visit victory lane at the South Carolina track during his first ever race at the track, much like fellow Californian Johnny Mantz did when he won the first ever race at Darlington Raceway in 1950.