Mears Subs for Burton, Finishes Second at Texas FORT WORTH, Texas -- Casey Mears, subbing for Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton, drove the No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet to a second-place finish in Saturday's...
Mears Subs for Burton, Finishes Second at Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Casey Mears, subbing for Richard Childress Racing teammate Jeff Burton, drove the No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet to a second-place finish in Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.
A part failure caused Burton to make made heavy contact with the outside wall during Sprint Cup Series practice on Friday. After being released from the infield care center, team owner Richard Childress decided to put Mears in the No. 29 NNS entry as a precautionary measure for the remainder of the weekend.
Mears' first laps in the Holiday Inn Chevy were during qualifying where he recorded the 14th-fastest time to start on the outside of row seven for the 300-mile event the following day.
On Saturday, sunny skies greeted approximately 76,000 race fans on hand at TMS. Mears quickly made it apparent how strong the No. 29 Chevy was by moving into the top 10, following the first lap around the 1.5-mile oval.
The Bakersfield, Calif., native was a mainstay in the top-10 over the first 108 laps. During that time, crew chief Dan Deeringhoff called for minor air pressure and chassis adjustments on two separate visits to pit road to get the Impala SS set to Mears' liking.
Following the second visit to pit road, Mears lined up 11th for the lap-110 restart. He moved into ninth one lap later and remained in the top-10 for the remainder of the 200-lap race.
The event's seventh and final caution flag waved on lap 180 with the No. 29 Chevy in fifth place. Deeringhoff left the decision in his driver's hands to either come down pit road for tires, or stay out. Mears chose the latter and moved to third for the restart six laps later.
Mears raced hard over the final 14 laps and passed the No. 38 of Jason Leffler two laps before the checkered flag waved to finish second, recording Holiday Inn Racing's seventh top-five finish of the season.
Kyle Busch dominated the race, leading 179 laps en route to his eighth victory of the 2009 NNS season. Mears finished second, Leffler was third, Matt Kenseth finished fourth and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five finishers.
The strong performance advances the No. 29 team one spot, to fifth, in the NNS owners' point standings. With two races remaining, the RCR team is 74 markers in arrears of Kevin Harvick Inc.'s No. 33 entry in fourth and 41 points forward Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 entry in sixth.
Casey Mears: "Today was a lot of fun. Jeff Burton is doing much better and I have to thank Richard Childress for giving me the opportunity to race the Holiday Inn Chevrolet today. I feel like we could've had something for Kyle (Busch) there at the end if we there was a late caution. Jeff told me this car was really fast and our run today proves it."
Next weekend, NASCAR's junior circuit heads out west to Phoenix International Raceway for the second and final time of the 2009 season.