Casey James Mears (born March 12, 1978) is the driver of the #90 Chevrolet Impala SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Keyed-Up Motorsports. He is the nephew of four time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and the son of Indy and off-road veteran Roger Mears.
Open wheel racingEdit
After racing in go-karts for a season in 1991, Mears began competing in the SuperLites Off-Road Series in 1992 where he posted several top-three finishes. He moved to sprint cars in 1994 and finished third in the Jim Russell USAC Triple Crown Championship, with a win at Mesa Marin Raceway. The next season, he won the championship in the USAC series.
In 1996, Mears made his CART's Indy Lights championship series debut at the Cleveland Grand Prix and finished eighth. The following year, he competed full-time in the Indy Lights championship and in 1999 finished second, losing by 14 points. He was also just the fourth driver in Indy Lights series history to complete every lap in a single season. Mears continued to compete in the Indy Lights in 2000 and won his first race at the Grand Prix of Houston meeting in October.
After testing Indy Cars for multiple teams in 2000, Mears was offered a chance to drive a third entry for Team Rahal at California Speedway in October. After qualifying 15th and leading 10 laps, he posted a career-best fourth finish in his CART Series debut. He ran three IRL events at the start of the 2001 season, and ended the season by filling in for injured ChampCar driver Alex Zanardi, posting one top-10 finish in four starts.
Mears had five CART starts, with one top-5 finish, and three IRL starts, with no top-5 finishes.
Mears made his NASCAR debut in the Busch Series in 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving the 66 car for Cicci-Welliver Racing. He started 21st and finished 28th. When the team was sold to Wayne Jesel the next season, Mears drove for them full-time, finishing 21st in points with two top-ten finishes. To the surprise of many, he was selected by Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #41 Target Dodge in 2003. In his rookie season, he finished 35th after failing to finish in the top-ten in any race. He drove the car for two additional seasons, and won two poles in 2004.
During the 2005 season, it was announced Mears would move to a separate car for Chip Ganassi with Home123 sponsorship, with the #41 to be piloted by Reed Sorenson. The Home123 sponsorship fell through and he instead moved to the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Ganassi, replacing the departing Jamie McMurray.Hendrick Motorsports for the 2007 season, to replace the departing Brian Vickers. On July 8, he finally won his first NASCAR race, a Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway, coasting to the finish after running out of fuel.
For the 2007 season, Mears assumed driving duties for the #25 Hendrick Chevrolet, with co-primary sponsorship from the National Guard of the United States and GMAC. On May 27, he won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte for his first career Nextel Cup victory. Once again, Mears secured the win with a fuel gamble, taking the lead with five laps remaining when most of the other lead lap cars stopped for fuel. Mears stretched his fuel to the finish, running out moments after his first checkered flag.
In 2008 Mears moved to the Alan Gustafson-led No. 5 Kellogg's/Carquest Chevrolet Impala formerly driven by Kyle Busch. On July 4, 2008, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and current DEI driver Mark Martin both announced that Martin will replace Mears in the #5 car for the 2009 season, running a full-time schedule for the first time since 2006, with the same Kellogg's/Carquest as a sponsor.
On August 23, 2008, Mears was announced as the driver of Richard Childress Racing's No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet Impala SS. The previous driver of the car, Clint Bowyer, will drive the team's new No. 33 General Mills Chevrolet Impala SS. In his first season at RCR, Mears has notched 2 top ten finishes. After struggling after the first seven races of the year, Richard Childress switched the crew chiefs of Harvick and Mears, hoping for a better performance from his two drivers. The switch has seemed to work for both parties, as Mears is 19th and Harvick is 21st in the point standings, respectively.
On October 21, 2009, it was announced Mears would be getting his 3rd crew chief of the season starting at Talladega. Todd Berrier would be moving to the #31 team, in place of Scott Miller. Doug Randolph would be taking over as the crew chief on the #07. This move was made primarily since the future of the 07 was uncertain and Childress wanted to keep Berrier in the family. After the switch, Mears struggled with his new crew chief and had a best finish of 19th at Homestead.
It was announced on January 20th that he will drive the #90 Key Motorsports Chevrolet. Mears failed to qualify for the 2010 Daytona 500, ending a starting streak of 252 consecutive races, this is also his first DNQ in his career. Mears also failed to qualify for Fontana, Las Vegas, and Atlanta.
Mears teamed with Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon on January 29, 2006 to win the 44th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for Chip Ganassi racing. They set a race record for the Daytona Prototype category, running 723 laps in 24 hours to score the win. Mears became the first ever full-time NASCAR driver to win the Rolex 24 overall.
- Official Website of Casey Mears
- NEXTEL Cup Driver Page at NASCAR.com
- Casey Mears at Daytona 500 Racing
- Career statistics at Racing-Reference.info
|Casey Mears | Roger Mears|