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Tag Archives: Casey Mears

Ten Points To Ponder…After the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301

*1. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?* - Hendrick Motorsports made it official last Friday that Casey Mears -- who joined HMS in 2007 to replace Brian Vickers -- would be released from his No. 5 Chevy ride at season’s end. Said team owner Rick Hendrick at the time of Mears’ signing, “Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization." Hendrick went on to say, "He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we're thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports." After just 52 points races... Next! *2. Do The Math* - Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway was altered by the race sponsor in a promotion that had the race length extended an extra lap this year. The toolmaker said the extra mile was added in honor of Lenox customers – users and suppliers of industrial tools – who perform physically demanding jobs yet receive little recognition.

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Mears Almost Had It All…But Almost Doesn’t Cut It

One third of the way through Sunday’s race, it looked like a little luck was shining Casey Mears’ way. Just days removed from a crushing blow to his career, he looked to follow up his pending release from Hendrick Motorsports with an upset trip to Victory Lane. He almost had it, too … with the keyword being almost. After a crucial decision by crew chief Alan Gustafson to gain track position by staying out during a lap 87 caution, Mears assumed the lead and wound up pacing the field for a total of 53 laps – 52 more than he’d led the entire 2008 season to date. As the laps clicked off and the No. 5 car held firm, it looked for an instant that Mears would pull the shock of the year.

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Mirror Driving: Martin’s Big Move, Harvick’s Big Mistake, And NASCAR’s Big Attendance Problem

*Kevin Harvick's bonzai move at the end of the race at Infineon could be the difference between both he and Tony Stewart making the Chase three months from now. Was that move over the line, and does it paint the No. 29 team in the most trouble of all 17 Chase contenders?* Amy: I don't think Harvick was over the line, per se — it was an accident, not intentional — but it was a stupid move. And I blame him for having to watch that insufferable little puke taking a bow on the Start / Finish line. Tony: I don't think he was planning a bonzai move when he started. Harvick just got in over his head, which is a little surprising given his experience. Tommy: Harvick made a mistake — a bad one. Clearly, he was driving hard to clear Gilliland and just didn't get it slowed down in time. Not too late to recover, though.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: How To Get Maximum Fuel Mileage From Your Team At Michigan

Michigan is a wide open two-mile track that offers drivers plenty of options and room to make moves which, hopefully, will lead to on-track passes and its fair share of racing action. But for fantasy players that worry about their drivers being caught up in someone else’s problems, they can rest assured that it generally will not happen at Michigan. You have all of the racing room of a multi-groove track to thank for it; but on a serious note, driver history at a place like Michigan will frequently dictate future success, thanks to the multiple racing grooves offered by the wide open surface. The cream will rise to the top at this speedway; and hopefully, your fantasy team will rise right along with it. So, will Michigan be a repeat of recent years, or will someone who has achieved recent success surprise and steal a win? Will Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finally break his losing streak, and what driver should you avoid at all costs? Only this week’s Picks ‘N’ Pans will tell ... read below to find out.

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Mirror Driving: A Busch-Edwards Rivalry? Truck Series Prospects? And Judging The Season At Halfway …

*After their 1-2 finish at Dover — the second time it's happened in the last month — people have been quick to point to Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards as "the next great rivalry." Do you agree with that statement, or is there another one that sticks out in your minds that's far more combative?* Amy: I don't know if it's so much a rivalry as it is nobody else can get the CoT that good. Neither of them is _that_ much better than the rest of the Top 10 in points. They just have better cars. Mike: Busch/Edwards would be a great rivalry if Carl really cared about it. He doesn't like losing, but he and Busch haven't had a close duel yet. Tony: It’s Kyle vs. Junior in the minds of the fans – not Kyle vs Edwards. I agree with Mike that those two really don't even seem to acknowledge each other. There’s no bad blood there yet. I think you need two fiery personalities to create a good rivalry, and Carl is pretty laid back.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Darlington Edition

Last weekend’s race at Richmond proved to be a roller coaster for many fantasy owners. If you had Denny Hamlin on your team, you were riding high for the vast majority of the race; but then, a flat tire brought you crashing back down to earth. And if you were anticipating a big payday with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. his late race run-in with Kyle Busch left you with pocket change instead of the jackpot. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for fantasy owners. Jeff Gordon looked pitiful in the early stages of the race before regrouping and scoring a Top 10 at the end of the night. And if you had Clint Bowyer on your team… well, you certainly lead a charmed life. This weekend in the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington, you can expect more of the same. They don’t call this place "The Track too Tough to Tame" for nothing! But the Lady in Black got a new face lift since the series visited there last May, making this weekend even more of a challenge. The faster speeds combined with the usual Darlington Stripes will keep fantasy owners on the edge of their seats for 500 miles Saturday night. With that in mind, which drivers will make that ride a bit smoother, and which ones will make you a bit queasy? Read this week’s Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans to find out.

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Did You Notice? Carl Edwards Underpaid? NASCAR Youth Is Undervalued, And Mears Gets A Wakeup Call

*Did You Notice? …* That Carl Edwards’ reported salary – $6 million per year – is the highest paid salary of any NASCAR driver to be publicly revealed to date. And frankly, I’m a little surprised; considering Edwards’ stature, my first thought was he might be a little underpaid. Winning four of eight races this season, Edwards is clearly one of the Top 10 drivers in the Cup series today. Personally, I think he’s in the Top 5, but let’s rank him according to his current rank in the points: 10th place. With that number as a benchmark, let’s look at the 10th-best salaries of players in the four major sports in 2007: *NFL* - Larry Johnson, $13.3 million (figure includes bonuses) *NBA* - Stephon Marbury, $17.2 million *MLB* - Richie Sexson, $15.5 million *NHL* - Ryan Smyth, $7.5 million _Source: USA Today_ As you can see, Edwards’ salary falls below all four categories; not only that, but it’s locked in place for the next _three years._ Of course, there’s far more here to take into consideration; Edwards will likely get a percentage of his souvenir sales – adding a few more million into his pocket – and also gets a percentage of the purse money he wins throughout each the season. But all in all, it looks like the salary may be a bit behind the curve – especially by the time 2011 rolls around.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: 2008 Aaron’s 499

The Cup stars head to Northern Alabama this weekend to the longest and fastest track on the schedule, the Talladega Superspeedway. It's the first time that the series comes back to a plate track, having run at Talladega last Fall in the new CoT configuration. That car, along with a newly paved track, resulted in a very long, single file run last year; but expect to see a more competitive race this time around now that the drivers have a better idea of how the car will react in the packs that result from plate racing. Aerodynamics become the most paramount factor this weekend; handling has almost no bearing at all in this weekend's race, as it all comes down to making the car move efficiently through the air and developing as much horsepower as possible with the restricted engines. Of course, that leads to close quarters, big pack racing, and the threat of the big wreck -- a crapshoot that could lead to disaster for your fantasy team. Read on to see what the experts have to say in order for you to navigate the waters of tricky Talladega ...

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Bubble Breakdown: Mad Martinsville Scramble Leaves McMurray, Smith Back In Top 35

And so it begins. With NASCAR switching to the 2008 owner points at Martinsville, the quest for a guaranteed top 35 spot becomes a mad scramble at the back end of the point standings. When the season began at Daytona, the top 35 were locked in for the first five races. A mistake at California could be made up for over the next several races. Now as the guaranteed spots shift to 2008 owner points, a mistake this week could have you on the outside looking in the following week. And the outside of the top 35 is a slippery downhill slope. A missed race here, a miss there, then a qualifying gets rained out, now you're a few hundred points behind. The pressure to make the races week to week becomes intense. If you don't get back into the top 35 by Miami, it may be tough getting sponsorship for the following season. Which continues a downward spiral that can cripple a team. But don't take my word for it. Just ask the boys over at Morgan-McClure racing. Despite having a solid driver in Ward Burton and a team history of winning, not being in the top 35 meant they couldn't secure enough sponsorship dollars to run the 2008 season.

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Did You Notice? McMurray vs. Mears, The Woods Shedding Tears, And More

*Did You Notice?* … There's a difference between the problems faced by Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray, both of whom have had disastrous seasons. Mears' issues have been partially based on overaggression. He crashed at Daytona making the wrong move at the wrong time going for the lead, then again at Bristol when he smashed into leader Denny Hamlin while trying to get his lap back. How much can you fault a driver for going overboard, giving it all he's got? Then again, is three wrecks in five weeks too much? That's the question for Hendrick moving forward. On the other hand, McMurray's barely had a sniff of the Top 20 all season long, with a program that's now in its third season. The car he's driving has led two laps; his teammates have combined to lead 275. In the past, Roush Fenway has made crew chief changes to fix the problems within McMurray's program; now, McMurray is with a team he's handpicked. Of course, things couldn't be more different in Mears' case; it's his first season with a "new" team after being moved over to make room for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Those things take time to gel.

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