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National Guard team gearing up for NBS action at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 24, 2007) – Casey Mears, driver of the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet, understands the importance of getting extra seat time on a track, especially one that has been newly repaved.

That’s why he is looking forward to running double duty in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Getting more seat time before you get in the Cup car is a good warm-up,” Mears said. “I’ll be able to feel out what area of the track I want to run and where I want to be.  That’s why we run the Busch Series races—to try to get a little more information.

“Obviously, we want to win races and gain some momentum with the team. But at the same time, if we can get a little more seat time and understand more about what we have to do on Saturday or Sunday, that’s why we do it.”

Mears did not compete at Bristol earlier this season, nor was he able to attend the Busch Series test session at the track last month.  However, crew chief Chad Walter is familiar with the new track’s surface as well as knowing what it takes to win there.

Walter earned the victory at Bristol in March 2006 with Kyle Busch behind the wheel, marking his first win as a crew chief.  And last month, the No. 24 National Guard team took part in a one-day Busch Series test there with NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series veteran Dennis Setzer behind the wheel.

“Testing at Bristol would have been an advantage, for sure, but I wasn’t able to be there,” Mears said. “At the same time, we had a good guy that gave the team great feedback. We appreciate Dennis doing that for us. It’s going to help us out quite a bit.”

This weekend, Mears and the National Guard team will recognize the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment from Knoxville, Tenn., nicknamed the “I Volunteer, Sir!” regiment, on the hood of the No. 24 Chevrolet.

Posting a personal record of six top-five finishes and 13 top-10s in only 15 races this season, Mears will make his next Busch Series start at Kansas Speedway next month.

In his absence, Landon Cassill, 18, will take over driving duties of the No. 24 National Guard Chevrolet. Cassill has competed in two Busch Series races this season, at Gateway International Raceway and at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

The Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway will air live Friday on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET.