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Casey Mears and NFL player David Carr cross paths a second time

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2007) – Hendrick Motorsports driver Casey Mears and Carolina Panthers quarterback David Carr share a connection.

More than a decade ago, both Mears and Carr attended Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, Calif., where they played on the football team together.

Mears, who graduated in 1996, played fullback and halfback for the squad, while his impressive teammate posted 16 school records in two seasons as starting quarterback for the Mustangs.

“David is just a great guy and an outstanding athlete,” Mears said. “I was nowhere near his league back in high school, but I like to think I was pretty scrappy and I know I had fun trying to keep up”

Carr, who recently joined the Panthers in April as a free-agent quarterback after spending five seasons with the Houston Texans, played at Fresno State and was the first player selected overall in the 2002 NFL draft. At the same time, Mears was making a name for himself in the professional racing world by driving open-wheel and stock cars.

Yet, in an odd twist of fate, their paths have again crossed.

Both now live in the Charlotte, N.C., area and enjoy keeping tabs on each other.  On Memorial Day weekend, Carr watched from pit road as Mears won the annual 600-mile race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, his first victory at NASCAR’s highest level.

And when the NASCAR season concludes in November, Mears hopes to attend some Panthers games to show his support for Carr when he takes the field with his new team.

“It’s been fun to follow his career as I was building my own, too,” Mears said. “We haven’t really been in the same place since high school, but then David signed on with the Panthers and all of sudden we were living in the same town again.

“It’s a pretty neat twist of fate, and it’s been great to have him around. I think we both feel very fortunate to be doing what we’re doing right now in our careers. Back then, we were just two kids from Bakersfield with big dreams and now we get to live them out.”

While Mears races in Watkins Glen this weekend, Carr will be taking on the New York Giants only a few hours away in East Rutherford, N.J., as the Carolina Panthers play their first NFL pre-season game of the year.

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