the latest news from around the world, courtesy of press snoop Lynne Huntting

CASEY MEARS was the fastest Busch Series driver all day Friday. He qualified on the pole for the Target House 300 race with a time of 39.368secs, not quite as close to his morning practice time of 39.347secs. The Busch Series qualifying track record of 39.143secs was set in April 2003 by KEVIN HARVICK. Mears was eighth fastest in Cup practice Friday morning with a time of 39.086secs.

Busch Series race sponsor, Target House, is put together by Target, sponsor of Mears Cup team. It is designed for long term stays (up to three years) for families of patients who are receiving life-saving treatment at St Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, started by DANNY THOMAS. The helmet that Mears is wearing was designed by JOSH OEHL at Target House. One of the children will serve as honorary starter and the Children of Target House will give the 'Start Your Engines' command via satellite from Memphis. Mears will also run a special Target House paint scheme on his Cup car.

Mears comes from a long line of racers in Bakersfield. His father is ROGER MEARS, who raced off-road and NASCAR Craftsman Trucks. His uncle is RICK MEARS, CART and Indy 500 Champion. Grandfather Mears, who is the only remaining Mears actually living in nearby Bakersfield, is at the track this weekend.

Mears is one of six drivers who will be doing cameos in the new Herbie Disney movie remake being shot at California Speedway, which stars MATT DILLON, LINDSEY LOHAN and MICHAEL KEATON. Dillon is at the track. It is Herbie: Fully Loaded and due out next Spring?

And while he's in the area, Mears and his Cup crew chief, JIMMY ELLEDGE, engineer TIM SMITH, tyre specialist DOUG SPEES, and mechanic ERIC 'PEE WEE' HOYLE' will face the Caterpillar Dodge team of rookie SCOTT WIMMER on Wednesday for the taping of NASCAR Week on Family Feud.

There are ten Buschwhackers entered for the race. TINA GORDON is the only female driver; she was last of the 44 drivers on track in both morning practice and last in qualifying. Two of the entries are rookies regulars - KYLE BUSCH, who qualified sixth and PAUL MENARD, starting 19th.

TERRY MacDONALD-CADIEUX is on site with her family, which is racing two Busch cars - STAN BOYD and KEVIN LEPAGE. Boyd is starting 35th and Lepage 32nd. MacDonald-Cadieux hopes to run two Busch Series races herself this year, in Memphis and Phoenix.