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MEARS OUT FRONT FOR PENNSYLVANIA 500

Casey Mears is ready to experience all the benefits of winning the pole at Pocono Raceway. He'll start in clean air with an unobstructed view.

"For the first time, I expect to see no one in front of me," a smiling Mears said.

Mears, driving a Dodge for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, turned a lap of 171.720 mph Friday for his first NASCAR career pole in 56 tries. He topped the fourth-place start he earned last year in Chicago.

"It's such gratification to finally get a pole," he said.

Drizzle and heavy fog shortened practice to an hour and delayed qualifying for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. But it didn't bother Mears, nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears.

"I feel like we had a car that could have been a top-five," he said.

Joe Nemechek, who posted the best practice time, was second in a Chevrolet at 171.654 and Kurt Busch third in a Ford at 171.540.

In local racing news, Ransomville and Lancaster canceled their programs Friday due to rain.

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