Casey Mears Q&A

Casey Mears, nephew of three time Indycar champion Rick, made his Champcar debut in Fontana last weekend, having taken third place in the Indy Lights Championship on Sunday morning. The 22-year old drove a third Team Rahal car in the 500 mile CART finale, finishing fourth. Andy Hallbery caught up with a delighted Californian after the race

Yes, it's just awesome. Five hundred miles - absolutely great. I can't express how I feel. It's been a great weekend, with two races, and to get my first Champcar race under my belt... I can't say enough about the guys at Team Rahal. Obviously they did a great job preparing the car, there were a lot of failures in the race, and we didn't. I didn't push the car hard, and we stayed on the lead lap, did everything we wanted to do, and finished up there in the top four. I really think we could have had a podium, but I made a little mistake on the restart and got a little sideways. So I had to gather that up, then I got by Fernandez. But what a great day. I couldn't ask for anything better?

A bit... The first big one with Michael and Oriol. I don't know if that was a motor or what... When that one blew I couldn't see anything. I didn't even know where I was going, and the spotter couldn't see because there was such a big cloud of smoke. It was pretty close, because Michael kind of popped out of nowhere in front of me. I just got on the brakes and prayed that I didn't hit anything. I got through and it was OK. I had one more in traffic, when I got a bit high coming out of Turn 4.

The biggest problem I had going from Champs to Lights is getting out of the pits! The clutch on the Champcar is so much more different, in the way you need to use it to get out of the pits. But in terms of the actual racing, I didn't feel any more stress or pressure. It was actually more fun. I got to race more laps! Physically I was fine, the guys made a really good seat, really comfortable . It wasn't that big a deal, just a lot of fun.

It's awesome! You're going into a corner with Andretti on the outside, Montoya on the inside. I'm in heaven right now, doing what I love to do and where I want to be. What more can I ask for? I know what it is... I could ask for a full-time ride next year! Things went great. I took a lot of input from a lot of people this weekend, and did what I needed to do.

Everyone is wanting some American drivers, and you can see the response from the fans. A lot of guys seem to be happy to see us out there right now, and it gives them someone to root for. I think it would be healthy for the sport. I'm just looking for someone to hopefully put a little faith behind me, pick me up on a long term deal, and live with me for a little bit. It's going to take a couple of years to be up with the top guys that have years and years of experience. I have no doubt in my mind that I could be a top contender in the future. I just need someone to put their faith in me.

There's good and bad to both of it, but I think there are way more positives than negatives. Being involved in a family like I have is just awesome. The support I get from them is just great. Outside sources sometimes think I'm set, and that I'm going to make it no matter what. A lot of team owners get preconceived notions that I'm going to be there anyway. But I'm a young guy trying to make it like everybody else. I've just got good supporters and a lot of good information behind me. But shoot! I had my Mum and my Dad here, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, friends' brothers... everything! What better place to make your debut here in California? It was awesome.

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