Mears could get Indy 500 shot
Victory in the 48th Daytona 500 on Feb. 19 could get Casey Mears a ride in the 90th Indianapolis 500 on May 28.
Mears, the son of former Indianapolis 500 starter Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indy 500 winner Rick Mears, confirmed that he has discussed that possibility with his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team owner Chip Ganassi, who also owns a high-profile team in the IndyCar Series.
“If I win the Daytona 500, I’m going to run the Indy 500,” Mears said. “If I don’t win the Daytona 500, I can’t see us making a big effort to run the Indy 500 because it will be very difficult to do it with the time change. But that would be well worth it if we win the Daytona 500.
“I talked to Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates a little bit and because we won the 24 Hours At Daytona (with IndyCar Series regulars Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon), if we won the Daytona 500, they would figure out whatever they could do for us to run the Indianapolis 500 because when is going to be the next opportunity win the 24 Hours, the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in the same season?”
Mears will start 14th in the season-opening Daytona 500.
With four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears as his uncle, Casey would love to restore the Mears name to the 500-Mile Race.
“It’s one of those big races everybody wants to run,” he said. “If we win the Daytona 500, we’ll make the extra effort to make that happen. It’s huge. I love going back there. We sat on the pole there two years ago at the Brickyard 400. I can’t wait to go back there.”
Mears completed the Indianapolis 500 Rookie Orientation Program in 2001 but didn't compete in the race that year. Indy500.com