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Mears looking to defend Busch Series win at Chicagoland

JOLIET, Ill. (July 14, 2007) – It was only a year ago when Casey Mears won his first-ever NASCAR-sanctioned event in the Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

A lot has changed since then.

Mears is now a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race winner, having won at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, and sits on the pole for Sunday’s Cup event at Chicagoland.

But before he turns his attention to Cup, the 29-year-old driver has some business to attend to.

Mears is looking to defend his title at the 1.5-mile tri-oval track Saturday as he pilots the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet in his 13th Busch Series start of the season.

“We had a fast, top-five race car that whole race and made a gamble on fuel there at the end. We not only made a gamble, but also had a very fast race car,” Mears said of last year’s win. “It was a lot of fun. It was a great win and it felt good to get that off my shoulders as well.

“We are right around the corner from doing it again.”

Mears, who led a total of 47 laps during the 2006 race, has accumulated two top-five finishes out of his three Busch Series starts at Chicagoland. He also earned the pole there back in 2003.

“Chicago is a really fun race track. I love racing there,” Mears said. “For some reason, I tend to always be quick there. I don’t know what it is about that track that suits me, but for some reason we run really well.”

Mears and the National Guard team will recognize the 33rd Infantry Brigade—nicknamed the “Golden Cross”—this weekend on the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet.

Mears, who has run only 12 of the 19 Busch Series races this season, is 15th in the championship standings.

The Busch Series race at Chicagoland Speedway will air live Saturday on ABC at 2:30 p.m. ET.