CASEY MEARS AND GEICO TEAM TURN IN TOP 25 IN LONE STAR STATE
Player Management International Media Release
Fort Worth, TX (November 6, 2011)
– Just three races remained on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule when Casey Mears and the GEICO team blew into the Lone Star State for Sunday’s 500-mile race. Sitting 33rd in the Owner Point Standings, Germain Racing rests comfortably in the Top 35 and is now focused on gaining momentum as they look toward 2012.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry sat 26th on the speed chart in two of the three practice sessions and would roll off of Sunday’s starting grid from the 33rd position.
When the green flag turned the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field loose under cloudy skies, Mears looked to begin making his way through the field. Starting 33rd, he picked up five positions on the opening lap and moved the #13 GEICO Camry into the 28th position. Just a lap later, Mears sat in 27th. On Lap 10, Mears radioed to crew chief Bootie Barker: “It doesn’t turn that great. It’s terrible down the straightaways.” Five laps later, the GEICO driver began lacking rear grip.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Camry traveled down pit road for their first of many green flag pit stops on Lap 44. The Germain Racing pit crew quickly refreshed the GEICO Camry with four tires, fuel and the necessary adjustments. The stop would serve as little consolation to Mears, as just one lap later he told Barker that the car was “way loose”. He was in 29th after his pit stop, but worked his way into the Top 25 by Lap 85.
He eventually emerged in the Top 20 before being forced down pit road on Lap 88 for his second green flag pit stop of the afternoon. The #13 GEICO Camry received four fresh Goodyear racing tires, a full tank of Sunoco racing fuel and a wedge adjustment before rejoining the field. Once Mears retook to the racing surface, he confirmed with Barker: “the car feels much better”. He said, “Whatever you did worked because I have much more rear grip.”
When the event’s first caution flag of the day finally displayed itself on Lap 111, Mears requested that Barker leave the car alone. “Leave it the way it is; it was starting to get better,” said Mears. “I felt a lot more racy that run.” Barker accommodated his driver and only provided him with tires and fuel before returning him to the racetrack. After entering pit road in the 29th position, the Germain Racing pit crew handled their work promptly and sent the #13 GEICO Camry back out in 28th, netting one position on pit road.
Mears would continue to pedal hard around the 1.5-mile quad-oval, riding comfortably in the Top 25, while also dipping into the Top 20 on occasion. The race went smoothly for Mears until the event approached Lap 200. On Lap 197, Mears brought the GEICO Camry down pit road for a scheduled green flag pit stop, only to have the caution come out less than two laps later, sending Mears three laps down to the field. Barker ordered Mears to take the wave-around and recoup a lap, leaving the #13 GEICO Camry down just two laps when the green flag returned the field to action.
Restarting the race in the 32nd position on Lap 207, Mears worked tirelessly to regain lost ground. His hard work paid off when Joey Logano lost his engine in turn two, causing the yellow flag to slow the field on Lap 261. Barker instructed Mears to take the wave-around, which would now place the #13 GEICO Camry just one lap down. Mears restarted in the 27th position on Lap 267. In a reversal of fortune, the yellow flag once again waved on Lap 269, allowing Mears to make the pit stop that he sacrificed while taking the wave-around during the previous caution.
After catching the break he needed, Mears was now running Top 10 lap times and ran as high as 18th before taking to pit road for his final stop of the day. With just 12 laps left on the docket, Mears took on four fresh tires and fuel before rejoining the field and hustling to a 25th place finish.
“The #13 GEICO Camry was fun to drive today, especially after our second pit stop,” Mears said. “It felt good to have some speed. We passed a lot of good cars today. The whole GEICO team worked really hard and we never gave up, even when we found ourselves three laps down. We have a great group of guys and I think you will see us continue to get better and better.”
Next week, Mears and the GEICO team travel to Phoenix, AZ, for race number 35 of 36 on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule.
Mears and the #13 GEICO Toyota Camry will hit the one-mile tri-oval of Phoenix International Raceway for the opening practice session on Friday, November 11th, at 1:30 PM (ET). Qualifying will follow on Saturday, November 12th, at 1:40 PM (ET).
The Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is on Sunday, November 13th, and it will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 3:00 PM (ET). The Motor Racing Network (MRN) will carry the live radio broadcast.
To learn more about the GEICO Racing program, please visit: www.geicogarage.com
You can also follow GEICO Racing on Twitter: www.twitter.com/geicoracing
Please visit the Casey Mears Facebook fan page: www.facebook.com/caseymearsracing