Casey Mears

February 9, 2009 by  
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Casey Mears was born March 12, 1978 in Bakersfield, California, and was surrounded by racing as he grew up. His father, Roger Mears, was one of the top performers on the off-road racing arena and his uncle, Rick Mears, won the Indianapolis 500 four times during his racing career. Mears began his own racing career at the tender age of four with BMX bicycles, and then he moved to ATVs at his hometown speedway. In 1991 he started racing go-karts and moved to SuperLites Off-Road Series a year later where he made a few top-three finishes.

“Tradition and heritage” have been used to describe Casey Mears, the new driver of No. 42 Dodge Charger in 2006. His family history and his surname transcend any one racing series. His fourth season was completed in 2006, on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. Over the years with Felix Sabates, at Chip Ganassi Racing, Mears has continued improving, which has given him the needed experience to be able to withstand the pressure that goes with racing the celebrated “Texaco Star” car. Many experienced and talented drivers have driven the “Texaco Star” on the NASCAR circuit like, Kenny Irwin, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd and Davey Allison.

Mears commented that not only was it a privilege to have Texaco/Havoline sponsor him but having grown up knowing them and the relationship Texaco/Havoline had with Mario and Michael Andretti. The 2004 season revealed Mears to be a strong competitor, earning him his first Top-5 finish at the Watkins Glen International. He also followed his Uncle’s footsteps by winning the pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in track-record time. During 2005 Mears NEXTEL Cup season was up and down. He had two races in Homestead and Texas, which were potential winners but with late-race cautions he was prevented from doing so. Altogether it wasn’t a complete write-off as he was able to finish the season with 3 Top-5 finishes and 9 Top-10s.

By the end of 2009, Casey Mears had notched up 252 consecutive race starts, one win, 12 Top Five positions, and 46 Top Tens. The year started off with the announcement the Mears would be driving the #90 Key Motorsports Chevrolet in 2010, but he broke his consecutive race starts record by failing to qualify for the 2010 Daytona 500 and later failing to qualify for Las Vegas, Fontana and Atlanta. Time will tell whether Casey Mears will regain his form and add more successes to his NASCAR racing history.

Greg Biffle

February 9, 2009 by  
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On December 23, 1969, Gregory Jack Biffle was born in Vancouver, Washington. He now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina and is a NASCAR Nextel Cup driver. Greg Biffle was first noticed nationally in 1995/1996 when he took part in the NASCAR Winter Heat series on ESPN2. It was Benny Parsons, a former NASCAR champion and now an ESPN announcer, who encouraged Jack Roush to hire Biffle due to his race performance, noting that if he didn’t, he was likely to regret it as he watched Biffle win title after title.

Biffle won his first Rookie of the Year in 1998 at the Craftsman Truck Series under Roush Racing. Two years later he won his first championship, the series title, which is part of NASCAR’s three major series. Greg Biffle joined the Busch Series in 2001 and won the series rookie of the year award after winning five times and finishing overall fourth in points. The following year Biffle gave Roush another championship in the Busch Series.

In 2003, after racing only part-time previously, Biffle began competing full time in NASCAR’s top circuit where he finished 20th in the final NEXTEL Cup series points. Biffle continued to improve throughout 2004 season. Greg in 2005 finished the racing season tied second with Carl Edwards for the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship. With six race wins behind him he was given second position over Carl.

In 2006, Greg Biffle struggled a lot after his two wins at Homestead-Miami and Darlington Raceway. He finished 33rd at the Brickyard, 24th at Pocono Raceway and 38th at the Watkins Glen International putting him lower on the series points. During the years 2004 to 2006 the Army National Guard became his primary sponsor with other sponsors being Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, Post-it/3M, Subway, Prism Guard Shield and Charter Communications.

Having won just once in the 2007 season, Biffle finished 14th in the standings, and in June 2008 signed a three-year contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing. He became the first driver to win the first two Chase for the Sprint Cup races in a season, which he did at New Hampshire and Dover. He qualified for the Chase again in 2009, but failed to record a win, for the first time since 2002. He did, however, achieve 10 top-fives and 16 top-tens. His career achievements by the end of 2009 included 14 wins, 59 top-fives, and 99 top-tens.

Apart from racing, Greg Biffle has a foundation that he and his wife Nicole manage together. The foundation’s goal is to create awareness for the need to improve provisions for the well-being of animals.

Jeff Gordon

February 9, 2009 by  
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On August the 4th, 1971, Jeffery Michael Gordon was born in Vallejo, California, but he was raised in Pittsboro, Indiana, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jeff Gordon is an American race car driver who has claimed the NASCAR Winston Cup four times and is the driver of the #24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Jeff is also co-owner of the #48 Lowe’s sponsored team, driven by the 2006 NEXTEL Cup series champion, Jimmie Johnson.

Jeff Gordon decided from a young age that he wanted to drive and his family fully supported him and his endeavors. They even went to the point of moving to Pittsboro, Indiana, where provisions are made for young drivers who want to race. Here Gordon was successful, winning three short-track races as well as being awarded with the USAC Midget Car Racing Rookie of the Year before the age of 18 years. Then in 1991,at the age of 20, Jeff was moved up to the USAC Silver Crown category becoming the youngest driver to win it.

Gordon had two excellent years with NASCAR Busch Series in 1991 and 1992 where he captured eleven poles in one season. In 1993, he had a full season in Winston Cup for Hendrick Motorsports, winning the Twin 125 Daytona 500 qualifying race, receiving the Rookie of the Year award and being placed 14th in points. Many critics questioned Gordon’s ability to participate in races of this caliber at such a young age, but in 1994, the critics were silenced when won the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Coca Cola 600, one of the most gruelling and demanding races. At the age of 24 he won one of his four NASCAR Winston Cup Championships. There are only two other drivers with more than four Cup titles. He was also the only NASCAR driver to have four Brickyard 400 victories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and one of five drivers to have four wins at the historic track.

NASCAR regards Jeff Gordon as one of its best drivers, especially with all that he has achieved at such a young age. At the age of thirty-five Gordon has collected 75 Nextel Cup victories, which is just one less of Dale Earnhardt Jnr‘s 76 wins and is ranked seventh on the all-time list.

Chip Ganassi Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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The NASCAR element of the Chip Ganassi Racing team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an organization that supports several racing teams involved in NASCAR and IRL races. The association is co-owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates – both of whom are businessmen. Chip was a successful driver in his younger years and he made the decision to create a one-car IndyCar team in 1990. As a team owner Ganassi enjoyed immense success. In his first four years his team took five championship titles and 46 wins – the start to a long and successful period of racing. He made the decision to partner with Felix Sabates in 2000.

Sebates was never really a racer and he instead made his way into the world of stock car racing as an owner in 1987. This was easy since Sabates was a self-made millionaire from Cuba. He called his original team SABCO Racing and it was this team that Ganassi decided to purchase 80% of as he made his way into the ownership side of NASCAR racing. The Chip Ganassi Racing team is based in Concord, North Carolina. The teams currently race in the IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. Dodge has been the car of choice since Ganassi took over the running of the operation – a collaboration which has definitely been advantageous.

Just before the NASCAR team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in November 2008, five drivers worked for the team. David Stemme started racing at the age of 15 and he has raced in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Reed Sorenson started racing at the age of six and he went on to become a rookie phenomenon. He too was driving in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Born in New Zealand, Scott Dixon was the team’s IndyCar driver. He impressed right from the start – winning his IndyCar debut and going on perform well in successive races. Dan Wheldon hails from England and is also an IndyCar driver. He has enjoyed an immensely successful career both in the states and abroad and is likely to continue to impress both his employers and fans. Scott Pruett is usually the man of choice for the Rolex Series. He has competed in a number of different forms of motorsports and proven to be successful at each one. All five drivers of Chip Ganassi Racing will likely continue to prove their worth in years to come.

Haas CNC Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Haas CNC Racing is now known as Stewart Haas Racing, with Gene Haas and Tony Stewart as joint owners.

Haas CNC Racing is based in Kannapolis, North Carolina and is currently a NASCAR racing team. Gene Haas owns the team as well as Haas Automation Company. There are two cars driven in the NEXTEL Cup series, that being #66 Best Buy Chevy, driven by Jeff Green and the #70 Yellow Transportion Chevy driven by Johnny Sauter. Hendrick Motorsports provides technical and engine support for the team.

The team was only formed in 2002 as part of the R&D team owned by Hendrick. The #60 Haas Chevy and the team had its debut in Kansas. The three races participated in saw the team stand 35th in Kansas, 35th at Rockingham and 30th at Homestead-Miami. The team continued to struggle and soon Sparague was switched for John Andretti who also did not have the best results. Later 5-time Cup winner, Ward Burton was assigned to drive #60.

Pontiac announced its move away from the sport, which meant the team had to move to Chevrolets. Burton gave the team their first top-ten finish at Rockingham, making them not only 9th there but also 9th as a team. These races were followed by a couple of bad races but they re-emerged in 10th place at the California Speedway. In October, another 10th place was made by Ward at the Talladega Superspeedway. Mike Bliss replaced Burton and finished 10th at Darlington ensuring a place for him in the 2005 season. Jeff Green drove #66 Best Buy Chevy in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel cup series where he finished 28th overall. Green will drive again for the team in 2007.

The Busch Series team debuted at Kansas with the #00 Haas Chevy and Jason Leffler as driver. The year 2004 was a good year with the team driving full-time. Leffler managed to grab a pole in California and won at Nashville. The win was not only Leffler’s first but also Haas’ first win; but despite that Leffler left the team and signed up with Joe Gibbs Racing’s Cup program for 2005. Leffler was replaced by Blake Feese but with no good results Haas had to finally merge with Labonte Motorsports for 2005.

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