Casey Mears emerged from the shadows and threatened to begin a campaign to lift him to the level of his Nextel Cup teammates with his victory last month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. As much as that win came as a surprise to some, the surprising thing about Mears' Busch Series season is that he has not won.
"The Busch Series team has been knocking on the door all season," he said. "I know that win is coming. I feel like we're always the bridesmaid. We changed that with the Cup team and it's time that we change it with the Busch team now, too."
Mears got roughed up in an accident at Las Vegas and finished next-to-last, but he has posted a top-10 finish in each of his remaining nine Busch outings. He has two second-place finishes and four others among the top five.
All of this has added up to seventh place in the standings despite his not running in four of this year's Busch Series races.
"I think our top-10 streak goes back to Las Vegas, and we would have probably had a top-10 there, too, if it weren't for that early accident," Mears said. "We have such a strong team, and it seems like every week we're just getting better and better as far as working together and understanding each other.
"A win is right around the corner for us. I'll be relieved and happy for the whole team and the National Guard when we finally get to Victory Lane."
Wood still ailing
Jon Wood, who was forced to end his 83-race consecutive start streak in the Busch Series because of severe headaches this past weekend, will sit out Nashville. His headaches might stem from medication Wood was taking from a misdiagnosed ailment.
"Jon Wood got out his car on Friday following Busch Series practice by his own choice due to headaches and not feeling well," said Wood's father and car owner, Eddie Wood. "He is presently being evaluated by doctors for these symptoms. It is believed at this time that he has been misdiagnosed with ADD and is experiencing adverse reactions to the prescribed medications."
Wood Brothers Racing developmental driver Kelly Bires will fill in this weekend.
Doing the double
Unlike the last time the Busch Series visited Nashville, the Cup drivers have commitments in their big-money cars at Pocono. Nine drivers will attempt to pull double duty by driving both the Busch and Cup events. But they've lined up help, just in case.
Matt McCall would sub for points leader Carl Edwards, and Auggie Vidovich would do the the same for Edwards' teammate David Ragan. Brandon Miller would stand in for Clint Bowyer; Chad Blount for Dave Blaney; Scott Lagasse Jr. for David Stremme; Jay Sauter for J.J. Yeley; Mark Green for David Reutimann; Burney Lamar for Greg Biffle and Carlos Contreras for Mike Bliss.
Crew chief fined
Robbie Wethington, crew chief of the No. 72 Dodge driven by D.J. Kennington, was fined $1,000 for rule violations discovered during prerace inspection this past weekend at Dover International Speedway.
The sanctioning body hit Wethington for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20A-12.5D (offset hubs will not be permitted (rear)) of the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book.
Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.