Raceday: Indianapolis

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    INDIANAPOLIS - Tony Stewart said his win in last year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard was the biggest and most emotional of his racing career.

    Casey Mears would love to experience the same feeling this year.

    Like Stewart, Mears has a deep connection to the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where his uncle Rick captured four Indianapolis 500s during his stellar career.

    "A win at Indianapolis would mean more to me than a win at any other track we race on for the obvious reasons," said Mears.

    Last year, Mears won the pole for the race which although wasn't a win, was still meaningful to the Ganassi Racing driver.

    "To this day, one of my most memorable moments in racing was winning the pole in 2004," he said. "It was unreal to me."

    "As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to appreciate Indy, its history and what my family has accomplished there," Mears said. "I was too young to see my dad and uncle race there, so I grew up attached to it through television. I think most people would be surprised to know the first time I ever stepped foot at Indy was not until the early 90s after I won a Jim Russell USAC Championship and they were holding the banquet at the Speedway. My first lap at the track was as a passenger in an SUV and the track was covered in about six inches of snow."

    Unfortunately for Mears, his hopes of finding the Brickyard's victory lane a year ago ended early.

    “Last year we had a really good car, a car capable of winning," said Mears, who wound up finishing 6th. "Unfortunately, I scraped the wall with it in qualifying and ended up starting 40th. The set up was great though, because before I knew it I was running in the top 10."

    It will take some more magic for Mears to work his way to the front this year. A poor qualifying effort foced Mears to take a provisional to make Sunday's field and he'll take the green flag 39th.

    PISTONE'S PISTONS
  • A hot, humid day with temperatures in the mid-90s is slated for Sunday's 13th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

  • Jeremy Mayfield will accept an offer to drive for Bill Davis Racing next season, joining Dave Blaney on the two-car Toyota effort. That will pave the way for Elliott Sadler to take the spot in Evernham Motorsports' No. 19 Dodge.

  • There are strong rumors that Mark Martin is putting together a plan to purchase Robert Yates Racing. One scenario has Martin moving Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 Ford from Roush Racing, which he is part owner of, to RYR and form a three-car operation. That makes sense in it would give Roush the four-car cap NASCAR is after.

  • More points for wins and a separate point system for drivers who qualify for the "Chase for the NEXTL Cup" will be announced by NASCAR in several weeks according to sources.

  • Allen Bestwick is expected to be named ABC/ESPN's play-by-play announcer for 2007. He would be joined by Rusty Wallace as analyst with Dr. Jerry Punch one of the network's pit reporters. The network is expected to create a stand-alone broadcast team for its Busch Series coverage.

  • Kurt Busch will move to the rear of the field in a back-up car after the No. 2 lost a tire in yesterday's practice session.

  • "Talladega Nights" is expected to lead the movie box office after this weekend's numbers are released.

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