INDIANAPOLIS -- Casey Mears grew up dreaming about winning poles and races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He just never pictured doing it in a stock car.
On Saturday, Mears took a big step in his budding NASCAR Nextel Cup career, and the first step toward emulating the Indianapolis success of uncle Rick Mears, by winning the pole for today's Brickyard 400.
He took full advantage of an early draw in the qualifying line to post a lap of 186.293 mph. That broke the Indianapolis stock car qualifying record of 184.343, set last year by Kevin Harvick.
"It feels great to be back here at Indy and holding up the Mears name proud," Casey said after driving his No. 41 Dodge to the second pole of his career and second in as many weeks. "Hopefully, I will have a good race on Sunday. It would just mean everything in the world."
After seeing his father, Roger, race at the speedway in the early '80's, and watching Uncle Rick win six poles and four races in the Indianapolis 500, Casey always pictured himself racing an open-wheel car on the 2 1/2-mile Indy oval.
He tried to make the 500 in 2001 but was unable to get a qualifying entry.