Mears Looks For Cheers

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Casey Mears has gotten off to a slow start in his first few races for Richard Childress Racing but the driver of the Jack Daniels Chevrolet is hoping to get things moving this Sunday in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in his final start before switching crews with the team's No. 29 squad.

Mears comes into Sunday's ninth race of the season 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings but has yet to notch either a top five or top ten finish.

His 20th last weekend in Phoenix was his third top 20 of the year but Mears understands the need to improve his finishes and starting this week in Talladega would suit him just fine where he finished seventh and 14th, respectively, last year.

“That whole race has changed over the years," Mears said. "You see a lot more guys being conservative for the first three-quarters of the race and then going for it at the end. I’ve had a little bit of success with that approach at Daytona and Talladega. The big thing is staying out of the mess. If you stay out of the mess, you can end up with a decent finish.”

Mears has a respectable track record at the mammoth 2.66-mile superspeedway. In 12 Sprint Cup Series starts, Mears has logged four top 10s, including a career-best sixth-place finish in the 2007 fall race. Over those same 12 starts, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has earned a 20.8 starting average combined with a 21.8 finishing average.

In order to add to those stats, Mears knows he'll need some help from his RCR teammates.

"The only way you can hold guys off is if you have a partner who sticks with you," he said. "Secondly, you have to block like crazy to try and keep everybody behind you. When I’ve led at Talladega in the past, it’s been mid-way through the race and it wasn’t really worth taking the risk to block just so I could lead the middle of the race. If there’s five (laps) to go, you’re going to block as much as you can to hang on to the lead."

Sunday's race is the second restrictor-plate event of the season and after his performance in the Daytona 500, Mears will be looking to up things in the speed department this weekend.

“Overall, I think it’s good," Mears said of the team's plate program. "We lacked some speed in Daytona but the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet handled well. During the latter part of the race, we hit on some things that made a big difference. That’s the biggest thing."

"When we go to Talladega this weekend, we’re going to be looking for some more speed. When we went to Daytona, we weren’t thinking as much about speed as we were handling. I know our cars had a good bit of drag and down force built into them, so we didn’t expect to qualify great. When we go to Talladega, we’re really going for that speed.”

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